Russian daily Kommersant said in January that at least four Su-24 fighter bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by rebel shelling
Last January we reported that at least seven Russian warplanes were destroyed by rebel shelling at the Hmeymim air base in Syria on Dec. 31, 2017.
According to Russian daily Kommersant the attack caused the single biggest loss of military hardware for Russia since it launched air strike in Syria in autumn 2015. More than 10 servicemen were reportedly wounded in the attack by “radical Islamists.”
Kommersant said that at least four Su-24 fighter bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by the shelling. The news was apparently confirmed by Lost Weapons Twitter profile which along with images of one of the Su-24s (specifically the Fencer “Tail Number 29”) damaged during the attack explained that at least some of the Su-24s and Su-35s were back in action.
Instead as brought to our attention by Denis, a reader of The Aviation Geek Club, an official Russian MoD statement denied that seven Russian planes had been destroyed few days after Kommersant report. “On December 31, 2017, at nightfall, the Hmeymim airfield came under a sudden mortar fire from a mobile militant subversive group. Two military servicemen were killed in the shelling. A report in the Kommersant newspaper on the alleged destruction of seven Russian warplanes at the Hmeymim airbase is fake. Russia’s air group in Syria is combat ready and continues to accomplish all its missions in full,” TASS said, citing the ministry.
A claim apparently confirmed by the fact that, as shown in the following video taken by Russia 24 TV news channel on Jan. 5, 2018, the reportedly “damaged” Su-24 Tail Number 29 was seen taxing at the Hmeymim air base just few days after those photos appeared on Lost Weapons Twitter profile.
Noteworthy as we have previously explained, even though in November President Vladimir Putin ordered a “significant” withdrawal of his military from Syria, declaring their work largely, Russia began establishing a permanent presence at Hmeymim and a naval base at Tartous.
Photo credit: screenshot from the video