Video of military convoy new proof Russia not pulling out of Syria

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 4:29 AM

The video shows a convoy of Russian troops headed to Palmyra to start mine clearance operations after ISIS was routed from there earlier this week.

Video of military convoy new proof Russia not pulling out of Syria

There is more proof that Russian forces aren't pulling out of Syria, but instead, more troops are arriving there, a new video from Russian state television Saturday apparently shows.

The video shows a convoy of Russian troops headed to Palmyra to start mine clearance operations after ISIS was routed from there earlier this week.

Col. Steve Warren, a US-led coalition spokesman in Iraq, couldn't confirm that Russian "sappers" or engineers had arrived in Syria when asked at a Pentagon press conference Friday.

Russian jets and helicopter gunships helped Syrian forces thrust ISIS from Palmyra, once a favorite tourist destination filled with ancient Roman-era artifacts, earlier this week.

A US defense official tells Fox News that Syrian forces suffered "heavy losses" against ISIS, but wouldn't proposal any specifics.

In a statement from Russia'south defense ministry posted on its website, the new Russian forces will conduct "humanitarian mine clearance" in Palmyra.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March that his forces would start withdrawing from Syria. Pentagon executive presently say otherwise.

Enormous Russian convoy going to Palmyra to demine it pic. twitter. com/n3ORoXgzUN

— BM-27 Uragan (@bm27_uragan) April two, two thousand sixteen

Critics point to a similar pledge from President Putin when Russian agreed to a ceasefire and to withdrawal troops and equipment out of eastern Ukraine in two thousand-fourteenth. The outgoing U. S. commander of NATO forces in Europe recently said Russian troops and equipment remain.

Despite sending less than half of its jet fighters back to Russia, there are presently more Russian attack helicopters in Syria than at any time since the air campaign to shore up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in late September.

The Pentagon hasn't seen Russian aircraft fly from Syria to Russia since March nineteen, one official tells Fox News.

More than twenty fixed-wing fighter-bomber aircraft stay in Syria in addition to more than a dozen attack helicopters including the newest gunship in Russia'south arsenal, the Mi-28N "Havoc."

US executive believe the deployment of Russian military forces to Syria isn't brief term.

"The Russians installed underground fuel tanks in their airbase in Latakia. This wasn't a temporary move, but a permanent one," a defense official told Fox News.

The Russian Navy has occupied a Syrian harbour in Tartus since the early one thousand nine hundred seventy.

In Fall two thousand fifteen, the Russians sent T-90 battle tanks, rocket-propelled artillery systems, and in December, the advanced S-400 air defense system to defend their new airbase N of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast in Latakia. US executive declare all of these weapons stay as well.

After defeating ISIS in Palmyra, it's unclear if the Russian-backed Syrian forces will continue to the Islamic State'south de-facto capital of Raqqa, only a three-hour drive from Palmyra, or head E to oil-rich Deir ez-Zor, the site of an Assad regime airbase.

Col. Warren didn't expect an assault on ISIS headquarters in the close future.

"Nobody'south going to obtain to Raqqa anytime soon, frankly, neither the Russians nor the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces]," said Col Warren.

The US military supports the Syrian Democratic Forces which are made up of largely Kurdish fighters, but also Arab groups as well.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Dept producer for Fox News Channel. You can chase him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

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