On July 1, 50 cadets of Syria’s Kuweires Military Aviation Institute, which reopened in 2018 after remaining closed for years due to the war, completed training with help from Russian instructors.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia and TV Zvezda shared footage of Syria’s new pilots flying on L-39 Albatros high-performance fighter jet trainers. The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) has been using this type of warplanes in close air support and ground attack missions since 2012.
Russia’s support has been critical for the survival of the SyAAF, which has very limited resources. The Russian MoD has been working to revive the capabilities of the SyAAF since the beginning of Russian anti-terrorism operations in Syria in 2015.
The SyAAF received loads of spear parts and ammunition for its warplanes from Russia, which also supplied Syria with some Mi-24P attack helicopters in 2016.
Over the last two years, Russia stepped up its support for the SyAAF. In 2020, Syria received a new batch of Mig-29 fighter jets from Russia. In 2021, several Ka-226T military helicopters were supplied. The SyAAF also begin overhauling its aging Su-22M4 fighter bombers with parts provided by Russia.
Russia has been providing similar support to the other branches of the Syrian Arab Army as well as to security forces and local pro-government groups.
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