Russian Military Celebrates ‘Victory’ Over U.S. and West in Syria (Source Newsweek)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top generals held an awards ceremony Thursday to honor military personnel returning from Syria, where Moscow claimed to have scored a decisive victory not only against militant groups, but against U.S. and Western interests.
Putin reportedly welcomed more than 600 soldiers and officers in the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, thanking them for their service in Syria, where Russia recently declared victory over the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). Russia’s 2015 entrance into the war came a year after the U.S. had already begun to scale down efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Moscow facing a rebel and jihadi uprising, and had formed its own coalition to bomb ISIS. Russian officials and military leaders, however, have credited their aerial campaign with outpacing U.S.-led efforts to defeat the militants and thwarting Western plots to oust Assad.
“On seeing our Western coalition partners in the air, we always tailed them, as pilots say, which means a victory in real combat,” Major Maxim Makolkin said at the event, indicating that the Russian air force had outperformed and outmaneuvered the aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition.