Syrian special forces conduct airborne training with Russian aircraft
PHOTO CAPTION: Representational photo of a Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 airplane via Wikimedia Commons
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syrian special forces troops performed more than 1,500 parachute jumps over the Mediterranean Sea and the Aleppo and Latakia provinces as part of training drills conducted using Russian military aircraft, Russia's defence ministry said on Thursday.
Video footage published by the ministry showed groups of Syrian troops leaping out of Russian planes and helicopters, including what the ministry said was the Syrian Arab Army's first mass landing from an IL-76 aircraft conducted at night.
"Servicemen of the Russian group of troops in Syria ensured the execution of a comprehensive exercise of Syrian special forces units," the defence ministry said.
Russia is one of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's main allies. Moscow's intervention alongside Iran helped turn the tide in favour of Assad in the country's over decade-old conflict.
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Angus MacSwan)