Air Strikes by SyAAF and VKS, 6 April 2017
The series of air strikes run by Russians during the evening of 5 April was continued by 12 additional sorties launched by the VKS from Hmemmem AB in period 00.00–01.00hrs. This targeted the areas around Jishr as-Shughour, Ma’arat an-Nauman, and Idlib (city, hit at least three times around 00.30hrs).
At 07.00hrs, the Russians flew another wave of 15 air strikes against targets in Jishr ash-Shughour area and further west — probably related with the AAS opening its offensive into NE Lattakia, on 5 April — but also the Sarqib and Taftanaz areas.
Hama AB became active around 08.40hrs, by launching three helicopters and a MiG-23 towards north. These were followed by a Su-22 launched from Shayrat at 08.51, and another one from Kweres, at 08.57. Both of these bombed targets in Kfar Zita salient.
The next Russian wave began around 09.00, in form of three pairs of Su-25s — all of which went in direction of Sarqib — and then nine other fighter-bombers that got airborne by 10.15hrs. Meanwhile, around 09.30, also two Su-22s from Shayrat were airborne over the Idlib Province.
Overall, by 12.00hrs local time, the Russians flew a total of no less than 64 fighter-bomber sorties. Assadists added 11 by Su-22s from Shayrat. Both of this indicated not only a day of very intensive flying, but — possibly — also that the SyAAF was indeed forewarned about the incoming US air strike, and began evacuating its Sukhois from the air base in question: namely, while we know where the aircraft in question launched from, we never know where do they return. And, launching 11 Su-22s from Shayrat in a matter of four hours is ‘unusual’. It is a possible indication of an evacuation.
Tiyas launched a total of five Su-24s between 12.00 and 13.30hrs: except for one that bombed Tabliseh, it’s unclear what did the others target. Five other Su-24s, and at least two Su-22s then targeted the Sarqib area by 15.00hrs. By 16.00hrs, 3–4 additional Su-24s, 2–3 Su-22s, and up to a dozen of VKS fighter-bombers were airborne over the Idlib province, while two SyAAF MiG-23s and two Su-22s have bombed Dera’a — which was also targeted by at least one SS-21: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JANXj5YlZdE
Namely, the Banyan al-Marsus OR re-launched its offensive into Manshiye, and reportedly overrun additional Assadist positions in that district of Dera’a.
Sporadic air strikes continued until 20.00hrs, when Russians launched another major wave, including a total of 12 aircraft and at least 3 helicopters that targeted the Jishr ash-Shughour area and western Aleppo. L-39s from Hama became active in form of two take-offs (20.53 and 21.21). The day ended with take-offs of at least 21 Russian fighter-bombers from Hmemmem AB, between 22.30 and 24.00hrs.