Cost of Syrian Operations: Russia Loses 96 Lives, 6 Aircraft

  • Vishwanath Patil
  • 12:57 PM, December 28, 2016
  • 2788
Cost of Syrian Operations: Russia Loses 96 Lives, 6 Aircraft
Russian Air Force technicians preparing MiG 29 jet fighters in Primorsko-Akhtarsk (Image: Press TV)

Russia might have won a military and diplomatic victory in helping the Syrian government liberate the cities of  Aleppo and Palmarya from terrorists, but it has paid a heavy price in terms of men and equipment.

A total of 96 lives were lost. The single biggest casualty happening when a Russian military Tupolev Tu-154 with 92 people on board crashed in the Black Sea during a flight from Sochi International Airport, Russia to Khmeimim, Syria. There were no survivors. Of the 92 people killed, 64 were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble choir, eight crew members, eight passenger soldiers, nine journalists, two federal civil servants and a Russian humanitarian worker.

Armed units of Al-Nusra terrorist front group shot down a Russian Mi-8 helicopter in Syria in late July this year killing three crew and two officers from the Russian reconciliation center. The helicopter was shot by ground fire following delivery of humanitarian supplies to Aleppo, according to the defense ministry statement.

A Russian military co-pilot was killed when his Su-24 military plane was shot down near the Turkish-Syrian border by the Turkish military on 24 November 2015. A Russian marine was killed when his military rescue helicopter was shot down by rebels while searching for the downed Su-24 plane’s pilots on the same day.

Two Russian pilots died in a Mi-28 attack helicopter crash in April 2016. "According to a report from the crash site, the helicopter was not fired at," the defense ministry.

Russia also lost a MiG-29K and Su-33 aircraft in separate incidents during flight operations in a week’s time due to various faults including unexpected engine shut down and broken Arrestor Cable while trying to land on aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in November this year. There were no casualties in the incidents.

Only two US soldiers died in Syria since October 2014. A US Marine pilot was killed when the V-22 Osprey aircraft he was riding nearly crashed into the sea while supporting air strikes against Islamic State.

A US Special Forces member died due to a bomb explosion while supporting Kurdish-led forces during the Wrath of Euphrates offensive against IS-held Raqqa on 25 November 2016.

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