30 Sep 2020 20:23

Over 121,000 terrorist sites, more than 130,000 militants eliminated in Syria over past 5 years - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. Sept 30 (Interfax) - Commander of the Russian Armed Forces' Group of Troops in Syria Lieut. Gen. Alexander Chaiko has unveiled a monument to Hero of Russia Col. Ryafagat Khabibullin at Russia's Hmeimim airbase, stressing the Russian Aerospace Forces' contribution to eliminating the infrastructure and militants, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Over the past five years of hostilities, the Syrian government troops backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces liberated a large part of the country and brought peace to the long-suffering land," the ministry said.

"Aircraft of the group of troops performed over 44,000 combat flights, during which more than 121,000 terrorist sites, about 10,500 pieces of military equipment, and over 130,000 militants were eliminated. Engineering units of the Russian Armed Forces have demined over 20,000 buildings, more than 1,500 kilometers of highways, and defused about 144,000 explosive objects. Russian troops took active part in restoring the peaceful life and infrastructure," a statement obtained by Interfax on Wednesday said.

The monument to Khabibullin was unveiled on the day when Russia's military operation to help the Syrian people liberate the country from international terrorist groups was launched five years ago.

"On July 8, 2016, while carrying out their combat mission in the Homs governorate not far from Palmyra, crewmembers of Ryafagat Makhmutovich Khabibullin's helicopter heroically perished," Chaiko said at a ceremony of unveiling the monument.

Khabibullin's widow and his son, an aide to the commander of the Russian Armed Forces taskforce in Syria dealing with believing servicemen, Archpriest Nikolai, officers of the Hmeimim airbase, and representatives of the Syrian Armed Forces attended the solemn ceremony of unveiling and consecrating the monument, the Russian Defense Ministry said.