Russian armed forces has increased the number of Su-25 close-support aircraft at an air base near Latakia, Syria, giving its forces a new ability to strike targets on the ground in the war-stricken country.
The four new Su-25 ground-attack aircraft were spotted flying with Il-76 transport aircraft near Hama in west-central Syria.
The Su-25 close-support aircraft, known by the Nato reporting name Frogfoot, is manufactured by the Sukhoi Design Bureau Joint Stock Company, based in Moscow, and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association of Novosibirsk, Russia. The Su-25 is designed to defeat small mobile and stationary ground targets and to engage low-speed air targets at the forward edge and in the nearest tactical and operational depth.
Earlier Mr Putin said Russia had allegedly agreed to reduce its military deployment in Syria under the terms of a 30 December ceasefire deal between Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian government.