Aircraft carrier first to leave as Russia reduces forces in Syria

Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its carrier strike group are among the first units to withdraw from Syria as Russia reduces the number of forces deployed.

Russia’s chief of general staff of the armed forces, General Valery Gerasimov made the announcement stating that the order came from Russian supreme commander president Vladimir Putin.

The announcement on the withdrawal of forces comes after the Putin announced a ceasefire in Syria in late December.

Admiral Kuznetsov spent some two months off the coast of Syria launching aircraft against ISIS positions.

According to the Russian news agency Tass, naval aviation pilots performed 420 sorties and destroyed 1,252 terrorist facilities during their deployment to Syria.

“The tasks assigned to the aircraft carrier naval task force have been accomplished. The Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier naval group is ready for further operations,” Tass quoted the Commander of Russia’s forces in Syria Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov as saying.

During the two months spent off the coast of Syria, Admiral Kuznetsov lost two aircraft in incidents caused by either faulty equipment or lack of experience. While never officially confirmed, several observers also indicated that a number of aircraft embarked on the carrier were later stationed at the Khmeimim air base in northern Syria after the crashes.