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Russian MoD Slams US Media Allegations of Increased Military Presence in Syria

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the mediabankRussian Su-24 tactical bombers at the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia Governorate of Syria
Russian Su-24 tactical bombers at the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia Governorate of Syria - Sputnik International
Russian Ministry of Defense has denied the reports made by the US media alleging that Russia has increased its military presence in Syria, according to Defense Ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

Earlier, the US TV channel FoxNews aired a report saying that Russia had been allegedly stepping up its military presence in Syria. One of two US officials quoted in a Fox News report on Wednesday claimed that "we have seen new things coming in" from Russia to Syria.

Russian Defense Ministry is already implementing measures to reduce Russian military grouping in Syria, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

"The Russian Defense Ministry implements measures to reduce the groups of Russian troops (forces) in accordance with the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces," Konashenkov said.

He pointed out that the Northern Fleet carrier group including the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy carrier, as well as more than 40 aircraft from the surface ship aviation that was used to conduct strikes on international terrorist organizations, started their withrawal on January 6.

"By the way, Fox news, as well as almost all media outlets in the world, reported it in their news program," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser in Severomorsk. File photo - Sputnik International
Libyan National Army Commander Haftar Visits Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov
He pointed out that first six Su-24 bombers have been redeployed to Russia from the Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.

The withdrawal of some aircraft, as well as flight and engineering staff from Syria is planned to be completed in the near future, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

Russian air group at the Hmeymim airbase now includes four Su-25 aircraft as part of a scheduled rotation, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov noted.

"As part of the planned rotation of aircraft, four Su-25 attack aircraft from Russia, equipped with modern navigation and sighting systems, were really made part recently of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airbase," Konashenkov said.

The decision to cut Russia's military presence in Syria was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recommendation of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on December 29.

Russia and Turkey are guarantors of a nationwide Syrian ceasefire that came into force last week, and has been holding up in general, despite continued reports of violations. The UN Security Council passed a resolution last Saturday supporting the effort.

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