Russia’s advanced Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets started accomplishing combat missions in Syria last week, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Monday. “Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase,” the spokesman said. Previously, Khmeimim had only modernized Su-25 fighter bombers, Su-24M bombers, Su-34 jets and Su-30SM fighter jets providing cover for these planes.
An S-400 long-range missile defense system was deployed at the base in late November. Apart from that, the Varyag guided missile cruiser equipped with the Fort system (a sea-based analogue to the S-300 missile system) is providing air defense of the base.
Su-35S fighter jets were deployed to Syria after Ankara had once again accused the Russian military of alleged violation of Turkey’s airspace.
On January 30, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry claimed that a Russian Su-34 fighter jet had violated the country’s airspace on January 29. Russia’s Defense Ministry dismissed Turkey’s claims as “unsubstantiated propaganda.”
Russia tightened security measured in Syria after a Turkish fighter jet downed a Russian Su-24M jet in late November 2015 having accused it of alleged violation of Turkey’s airspace. Moscow said the Russian warplane had been downed deliberately whereas a Turkish plane had committed border violation.