Russia to enlarge military presence in Syria?

A Russian military helicopter Mi-8 was shot down in Syria on August 1, officials with the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation said. The helicopter was returning to its base after delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo, where Russia started a humanitarian operation last week.
There were three crew members and two officers of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation on board the helicopter. All of them were killed.

This loss has not been the first one since involvement in the Syrian conflict. Apart from Su-24, some more incidents may be recollected. On 12 April, Mi-28N crashed near the city of Homs. Two members of the crew died. On 19 June fighter MiG-21 of the Syrian Air Forces crashed in the west of Syria near the Hama province. All the crew members died.

Semyon Bagdasarov, expert on the Central Asian and Middle Eastern problems at the Centre of Analytical Studies, told Pravda.Ru which conclusion should be drawn and how Russia should put an end to terrorists in Syria.

"The longer our military presence in Syria (aviation, artillery or special forces) lasts, the better. However, we should put an end to this war. One can either win, or God forbid... as they say. Just striking will be of low efficiency, as the fighters have already created a fortification system: they have dug into ground and so on.

Thus, it's very important not to just carry out strikes, but to have the territory occupied by our coalition. First of all, all the passes at the border of Syria and Turkey should be closed, these are the Jarabulus and Azaz.

Our General Staff has already stated that some thousands of fighters with equipment and ammunition were moved from the territory of Turkey to Aleppo and Idlib during so-called armistice. So, now it's not enough to just carry out air strikes,' Semyon Bagdasarov believes.

What about the group which downed the Russian Mi-8, the expert supposed it may be former al-Nusra Front, which is now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.


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