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Gerasimov Announces First Russian Force Reduction In Syria

Jan. 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, announced at the Defense Ministry in Moscow this morning that the drawdown of Russian forces in Syria, approved by President Vladimir Putin when the truce was announced on Dec. 29, has begun. The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its accompanying strike group are leaving the Syrian coast today, to head back to their Northern Fleet base of Severomorsk.

"I would like to thank the staff of the aircraft carrier group for the success in implementing its tasks. I order the senior officer of the mission Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov to begin relocating the group today and move to the main fleet base of Severomorsk as per the plan approved earlier,"

Gerasimov said.

According to Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the commander of Russian forces in Syria, the carrier’s air group conducted 420 sorties, destroying 1,252 terrorist targets in Syria over two months.

"The strikes were delivered against terrorists’ infrastructure, groups of militants and vehicles, firing positions and strongholds of illegal armed formations,"

Kartapolov said. "The Admiral Grigorovich frigate attacked Daesh targets in Syria with Kalibr cruise missiles. All targets were hit," the commander said.