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Syria stations fighter jets at Russian bases to avoid future U.S. strikes

(NationalSentinel) Syria: The Syrian government has moved much of its remaining air force to bases where Russian fighters are stationed, in an effort to prevent them from being targeted once again by the United States.

The move is certain to complicate any future efforts by the Pentagon to target Bashar al-Assad’s remaining air assets, but more than that, it also puts another diplomatic wedge between Moscow and Washington.

As reported by the National Post of Canada:

The Syrian government has moved most of its combat planes to Russian military bases in anticipation of further U.S. strikes, American officials have said.

The relocation of its warplanes to Hmeimim air base and the adjacent Bassel al-Assad International Airport began shortly after the U.S.’s April 6 Tomahawk cruise missile strikes on Shayrat airfield, which were carried out in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that was believed to have been launched from that airfield.

The strikes were reported to have destroyed 24 aircraft, but planes continued to fly bombing raids out of the airfield just hours later.

The air base at Hmeimim is said to be defended by the sophisticated Russian-built S-400 air defense system, with a range of 150 miles. It’s not clear the system would be effective against cruise missiles, however.

For its part, the Trump administration has not ruled out future strikes against Syrian aircraft and forces, though obviously this complicates matters. There are some 30 Russian aircraft, 15 combat helicopters and hundreds of Russian military personnel at the base.

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