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Russia Flies More Warplanes Home From Syria

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that another group of Russian warplanes has taken off from the Hmeimim air base in Syria, flying back to their permanent bases in Russia.

The warplanes included an Ilyushin-76 transport plane as well as Sukhoi-25 fighter jets, it said on March 16.

Long-range flights from Hmeimim are made in groups led by a military transport jet carrying engineering personnel, material assets, and equipment, followed by Russian combat planes of different types, the ministry said.

The group flies in this formation until it crosses the border of the Russian Federation, and then the planes head for their respective bases, making stops for refueling and maintenance, if needed, it said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 15 ordered a pullout to begin of the main Russian air group from Syria.

The pullout comes more than five months after Moscow began its bombing campaign in Syria, aimed at bolstering the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and "fighting international terrorism."

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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