Russia sends second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria: Embassy

Russia sends second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria. (Twitter/@RusEmbSyria)

Russia flew a batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria, Moscow’s embassy in Damascus said, with Syrian pilots already using the planes to conduct missions within the country’s airspace.

President Vladimir Putin last week ordered Russia’s foreign and defense ministries to hold talks with its close ally, Syria, to obtain more facilities and maritime access there, in addition to the two military bases it has already.

Russia’s Embassy in Syria said on Twitter late on Wednesday that the latest batch of planes was for the Syrian military.

“Syrian Arab Army received the second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets from #Russia - in the framework of military & technical cooperation between our countries. Syrian(s) already begin to carry out missions on those planes,” it said.

It shared a link to a May 30 report by the Syrian Arab News Agency, which cited a Syrian military source as saying the fighters were more effective that their previous generation and would be used in Syrian airspace from June 1.

The United States in late May accused Russia of deploying fighter aircraft via Syria to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fighting for the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

It said aircraft had arrived in Libya after being repainted to conceal their Russian origin in Syria, stating that the aircraft would likely provide close air support and offensive fire.

Reuters sent a request for comment to the Russian defense ministry last week. It did not respond.

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On Thursday, a military source with the eastern forces told Reuters that the LNA is withdrawing from Tripoli districts, while forces fighting for Libya’s UN-recognized government said they had regained control over Tripoli.

The United Nations said its top envoy in Libya held talks on Wednesday with a delegation from the LNA to follow up on the agreement by the country’s warring parties to resume cease-fire negotiations, calling it “a positive step.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Eastern-based forces under Hafter launched an offensive trying to take Tripoli in April 2019, and the turmoil in the country has steadily worsened as foreign backers increasingly intervened despite pledges to the contrary at a high-profile peace summit in Berlin earlier this year.

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Last Update: Thursday, 04 June 2020 KSA 20:26 - GMT 17:26
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