The monument to the Hero of Russia Colonel Ryafagat Khabibullin was opened on the Russian air base Hmeymim in Syria
On the territory of the Russian airbase Hmeymim on the day of the fifth anniversary of the start of the Russian military operation to assist the Syrian people in liberating the country from international terrorist groups, Lieutenant General Alexander Chaiko, the commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria, opened a monument to the Hero of Russia, Colonel Ryafagat Khabibullin.
The ceremony of opening and consecrating the monument was attended by the widow of Colonel Ryafagat Khabibullin and his son, Archpriest Nikolai, assistant commander of the Russian Armed Forces group in Syria for work with religious servicemen, military personnel of the Hmeymim air base and representatives of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic.
"On July 8, 2016, the helicopter crew of Colonel Khabibullin Ryafagat Makhmutovich heroically died while performing a combat mission in the province of Homs near Palmyra. Hundreds of times he raised his helicopter, performing combat missions in military conflicts of the last decades, showing courage, dedication and the highest professionalism. We remember and honor the memory of all those who died here on Syrian soil. That is why it is our duty to perpetuate the feat of a Russian officer on the territory of the Hmeymim air base," said Lieutenant General Alexander Chaiko, commander of the Russian Federation Armed Forces group in Syria.
The commander also recalled that "five years ago, at the request of the legitimate government of Syria, the military and political leadership of Russia decided to provide military assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic in the fight against international terrorism. The historical need to deploy a group of Russian troops was due to the critical situation in Syria. The whole world was waiting for the bloody outcome of the disappearance of the Syrian state, but true to its allied duty, Russia sent its best soldiers, who together with the Syrian army defeated international terrorist organizations and their sponsors."
"For five years of fighting, the Syrian government forces, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated most of the country's territory and brought peace to the long-suffering land. The aircraft of the group of troops carried out more than 44 thousand sorties, which resulted in the destruction of more than 121 thousand terrorist objects, almost 10.5 thousand units of equipment and more than 130 thousand militants. Engineering units of the Russian Armed Forces cleared more than 20 thousand buildings, more than 1.5 thousand kilometers of roads, and neutralized almost 144 thousand explosive objects. Russian military personnel are actively involved in the restoration of peaceful life and infrastructure in the country. More than 2.5 thousand humanitarian actions were held. Behind these dry figures are the selflessness and heroism of our servicemen, their courage, will to win and faith in the rightness of their business. But, unfortunately, the war is not complete without losses. In the course of carrying out combat tasks, our comrades were killed, performing their military duty, protecting the Syrian people. We remember their names," Lieutenant General Alexander Chaiko added.
In conclusion, the commander congratulated all military personnel on the day of formation of the group of troops (forces) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Syria and presented departmental awards.
After the official part of the solemn event, all military personnel laid flowers at the new monument to the hero-pilot and the recently opened monument to the nurses who died while performing military duty in Aleppo.