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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Syria: March 16, 2016

Publication: Putin in Syria
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Jets Pulling Out Of Syria, But It Seems New Helicopters Are Just Arriving

As we have been reporting for days now, Russia has begun withdrawal of its fixed-wing aircraft from Syria.

Reuters has posted this video, released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, showing many Russian aircraft taking off from the Hmeimin air base, perhaps for good.

But a careful observation of the video reveals an interesting revelation -- a brand new type of helicopter, the Mi-28, may have been newly deployed to the base: 
Mil Mi-28 in Lattakia, March 16, 2016 | Reuters
2016-03-16 19:39:51
A reference photo of an Mi-28 matches this picture: 
http://www.airforce-technology.com/
2016-03-16 19:44:54

There is no indication that we can find of an Mi-28 having been documented as being present at this air base before this video. 

Interestingly, shrewd observation of yet another video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense indicates a second new attack helicopter present at the base: 

Both the Mi-28 and the KA-52 are potent attack helicopters that excel at close-air support, and the latter is a late 1990s model, making it one of the more up-to-date helicopters present in the Russian arsenal.

The presence of these helicopters suggests that while Russia may be drawing down its long-range strike capability, it will certainly not be leaving Lattakia province defenseless.

-- James Miller

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