12 Dec 2017 17:21

Tu-22M3 bombers return from Syria to home base in Murmansk region

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax-AVN) - The crews of Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers have flown from an airfield in North Ossetia to their permanent base in the Murmansk region after successfully completing their mission to strike terrorists in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"The Russian Armed Forces have performed their mission to destroy the terrorist organization ISIL [banned in Russia] in Syrian territory," the Defense Ministry's press service quoted Maj. Gen. Alexander Tsylev of the Russian Aerospace Forces as saying at the welcoming ceremony.

The Russian warplanes were tasked with destroying militants' strongholds, ammunition and weapons depots, and armored hardware, Tsylev, who heads the Aerospace Forces' combat-training department for long-range, military-transport, and special aviation, said.

"Long-range aircraft have been used on a large scale. Tu-22M3 bombers acting from airfields in Russian territory delivered 14 group strikes, carrying out 84 missions over the past month," Tsylev said.

The Tu-22M3s landed at the Olenya Airfield in the Murmansk region.

Speaking to Russian servicemen at the Hmeimim Airbase in Syria on December 11, Russian President and Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to start withdrawing Russian forces from Syria.