2023 Author: Katelyn Chandter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 13:08
For many officers, the mission to Syria was the first combat mission. Those pilots who had already gone through more than one war fought against terrorists. Veteran pilots admit that it was the Syrian operation that was one of the most difficult.
After a short rest, the officers returned to service in their places of permanent deployment. Zvezda's correspondents met with one of them.
“The day after we returned, we were allowed to sleep off,” Konstantin Aleksandrov tells Zvezda (for security reasons, we cannot give his real name). - I slept for a long time. Until three o'clock in the afternoon. And then my relatives woke me up, they say, get up, you miss me. Mom says she won't let me go anywhere else. I then hug her and answer: "Who will ask you?" I remember when I was in my fourth year at the notch, I came home for the New Year, and the whole family accompanied me back to the train. Mom stands on the platform and sighs: "Son, how big you are with me, you go on trains yourself!" I turn around and say: "Is it okay that I am already flying on an airplane myself?" For parents, we are always children.
For many officers, the mission to Syria was the first combat mission. Fighting terrorists ISIS (an organization banned in Russia) and those pilots who have already gone through more than one war: two Chechnya, Tajikistan, Georgia. Veteran pilots admit that it was the Syrian operation that was one of the most difficult.
- The whole operation took 180 days. Of these, I spent 120 days there, - recalls Konstantin. - I flew in September and was in Syria for two months. In November I returned home, and on the very first day I was already told the date when I would fly for the second time.
What surprised you the most there?
- When we first arrived in Syria, the first thing that struck me very much was how people live there. I have never seen such poverty. The standard of living is low, salaries are $ 40, they go around in rags, hungry. People simply have nothing to wear. I was very sorry for the guys. After all, each of us has children, nephews, and each child wants to give the best. And there parents simply cannot do it. We had a great desire to help them.
Did the Syrians help you in any way?
- We ourselves quite often talked with local residents. At first, they helped us a lot in the deployment of the base. We communicated with them in English, however, we did not always understand each other, then we had to speak on our fingers. You know, when one of the men passed by, he nodded to us - he said hello - and put his right hand on his heart. At first we did not understand what this meant, and when we found out, we did the same in return. This is a sign of gratitude for our attitude towards them and their towards us. The children were treated to fruit. They pounced on them like a piece of meat. We were so hungry. They also brought them food and juice from the dining room. Many of us have visited Syria twice. Therefore, when we flew there again, we stocked up at home with sweets and sweets and handed out to the children when they saw her.
We were also often treated to. A couple of times during a business trip, the local special services called for a visit - muhabarat. They set the table for us, arranged meetings, to which the Syrian pilots were invited. It was very interesting for us with them. We often crossed paths in the air when we were on assignments. And in the sky they waved their wings to each other. And already when they met on earth, they found out from each other who was working where.
Was the schedule difficult?
- Sometimes, at 23:00, the command says that there will be no more tasks, they say, you can go on vacation. And at 03:00 they raise the alarm - they give the coordinates, and we have to work. When the terrorists were bombed, lights could be seen from above, as if from welding. These are militants firing machine guns. Once I counted seven of their positions. We returned to the base and reported it. Then we issued a new target, and we flew to destroy them. You know, on the first mission, the militant bases were very close - 30-40 kilometers from the airfield. And then we already had work in those districts that are very far away: Palmyra, Aleppo - this is how the terrorists were thrown back. They worked together with the Syrian Ground Forces. Therefore, we had to be very careful, the slightest layering - and could hit them. It was very hard. An airplane is not a tank, you cannot stop it in the air, you cannot hang it.
Sometimes it was necessary to cover the militants in the city center. Received an orientation that their base should be bombed. So we first found out if there were civilians there. And only when there was one hundred percent certainty that there was no one, we flew and struck. I can safely say that not a single civilian was killed by our strikes.