Moscow reveals how many Russian troops are fighting in Syria?

Moscow reveals how many Russian troops are fighting in Syria?

MOSCOW - Russia has sent over 63,000 troops to Syria over the course of its involvement in the conflict, the Russian defence ministry said Wednesday.

A total of 63,012 Russian personnel have "received combat experience" in the war-torn country, the ministry said in a video about Russia's campaign to support the Syrian regime dating back to September 2015.

This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, it said.

Previously Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2017 that over 48,000 military personnel had taken part in the Syrian campaign.

President Vladimir Putin in December last year ordered his armed forces to pull the bulk of troops out of Syria.

But the Russian president later clarified that the military would remain in Syria for "as long as it is beneficial" and was not planning to withdraw yet.

The ministry said Wednesday that Russian airforce had conducted more than 39,000 sorties that killed "over 86,000 militants" and destroyed 121,466 "terrorist targets".

It said its forces had tested 231 types of modern weaponry in Syria including aircraft, surface-to-air systems, cruise missiles and others.

The video made no mention of Russia's civilian or military casualties in the conflict.

Moscow's intervention in the multi-front war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad has been a turning point in the conflict.

Since it started in 2011, Syria's war has killed more than 350,000 and displaced millions. - APP/AFP