Air Strikes by VKS & SyAAF, 23 April, 2017
Slightly late today, but then, there was not much to report about air strikes for yesterday.
Generally, operations were run at a much slower pace than during the last few days. The VKS flew ‘just’ eight strikes during the night, and then five by 10.00hrs in the morning.
Afterwards, its Il-20M was the one remaining airborne for a while longer. Similarly, the SyAAF launched one L-39 from Hama during the night, and then just a helicopter from that base, and a Su-24 from Tiyas, by 10.00hrs.
The Russians flew slightly more intensivelly just after 11.00hrs, but even more so after 12.00hrs, when the VKS commenced launching a wave of 15 aircraft that got airborne within less than 20 minutes.
Afterwards, they went back to flying sporadic air strikes continued targeting Ma’arat an-Nauman, Kfar Zita and Latamin.
Apparently giving at least a half of its crews a day off — while also bringing four additional Su-34s to Hmememm AB — the VKS launched its next big wave only around 21.00hrs: comprising a total of 12 take-offs, this was over already 40 minutes later. For the rest of the day, the Russians flew only three additional sorties.
The SyAAF was next to not active on 23 April: indeed, except for Hama, and Kweres, only Tiyas launched one Su-24 throughout the day. Conclusion is on hand that after one month of very intensive flying, and severe losses the SyAAF suffered at Shayrat and Hama, both air forces were exhausted, and in urgent need of some time for rest and maintenance. We’ll see if they might re-intensify their operations tomorrow, but I expect at least the SyAAF not to do so for a few days longer.