PROTECTING SYRIA? Russian bombers prowling the Mediterranean

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A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry released on Wednesday revealed that two strategic Tu-160 bombers conducted military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Two strategic Tu-160 bombers that left the Engels airfield successfully completed their tasks in the large-scale exercise plan of the Russian Naval and Aerospace Forces in the Mediterranean,” the statement said.

“The plane made a 10-hour flight on low-level terrain under difficult weather conditions and successfully simulated the launch of cruise missiles on ground targets in a specific area,” the document said.

Su-30 and Su-33 jets that left the Khmeimim air base in Syria followed the Tu-160 bombers.

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The statement also added that the exercises were conducted in accordance with international airspace rules, without border violations.

This exercise comes as the Syrian Army are making final preparations to launch an operation to liberate Idlib province from jihadist forces. Turkey and the US have hinted towards intervening when the operation is launched to protect the final bastion of jihadism in Syria.

This comes as back in June the Russian Ministry of Defense has reported on expanding the geography of supersonic aircraft flights.

In June, military expert Aleksandr Zhilin, head of the National Security Social Issues Analysis Center and retired commander, commented on plans to use the Tu-160 bombers to bolster the Russian “shield” in the Arctic.

“According to the order of the commander-in-chief [President Vladimir Putin], these airplanes have been modernized, in fact, they are new aviation complexes of generic use. They went through all the tests, and it was time to use them properly. As far as the Arctic is concerned, of course our competitors will try to ‘crush’ Russia from this region, take control of the resources .We can not allow it, so we will use all forces and equipment at our disposal to protect the which is ours. The Tu-160 is a great airplane, and taking into account that it can be refueled in flight, this aircraft can be operated for an entire day,” he said.

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