Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria on May 4, 2016.
VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria on May 4, 2016.
Now playing
01:55
CNN travels with Russian troops inside Syria
(L/R): Head of Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service Onno Eichelsheim, Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld and British ambassador Peter Wilson attend a press conference of the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) at The Hague, The Netherlands, on October 4, 2018. - Dutch intelligence thwarted a Russian cyber attack targeting the global chemical weapons watchdog in April and expelled four Russian agents, the government said. The Russians set up a car full of electronic equipment in the car park of a hotel next to the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons in The Hague in a bid to hack its computer system, it said. (Photo by Bart Maat / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT        (Photo credit should read BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images)
BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images
(L/R): Head of Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service Onno Eichelsheim, Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld and British ambassador Peter Wilson attend a press conference of the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) at The Hague, The Netherlands, on October 4, 2018. - Dutch intelligence thwarted a Russian cyber attack targeting the global chemical weapons watchdog in April and expelled four Russian agents, the government said. The Russians set up a car full of electronic equipment in the car park of a hotel next to the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons in The Hague in a bid to hack its computer system, it said. (Photo by Bart Maat / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:11
Russia denies western accusations of attacks
putin response russian spy lon orig bks_00003009.jpg
BBC
putin response russian spy lon orig bks_00003009.jpg
Now playing
01:30
Reporter confronts Putin about spy poisoning
The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats from the country after concluding that the Russian state is responsible for the attempted murder of former Russian agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4th.  They will have one week to leave.   "For those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple. You are not welcome here."
Bowtie TV
The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats from the country after concluding that the Russian state is responsible for the attempted murder of former Russian agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4th. They will have one week to leave. "For those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple. You are not welcome here."
Now playing
01:08
Theresa May: UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on July 31, 2017. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on July 31, 2017. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:04
Suspected Russian spy worked inside US embassy
 Steven Seagal (R) delivers a press conference with Costa Rican President, Oscar Arias (out of frame), on February 11, 2009, at the presidential residence in San Jose. Seagal and Arias met to talk about the possibility of real estate and film industry investments in Costa Rica. AFP PHOTO/ Mayela LOPEZ (Photo credit should read MAYELA LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
MAYELA LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Steven Seagal (R) delivers a press conference with Costa Rican President, Oscar Arias (out of frame), on February 11, 2009, at the presidential residence in San Jose. Seagal and Arias met to talk about the possibility of real estate and film industry investments in Costa Rica. AFP PHOTO/ Mayela LOPEZ (Photo credit should read MAYELA LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:30
Putin appoints Steven Seagal for diplomat job
russia new nuclear weapons putin chance lkl vpx _00002715.jpg
Russian Defense Ministry
russia new nuclear weapons putin chance lkl vpx _00002715.jpg
Now playing
01:09
Russia releases video of new nuclear weapons
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  A police officer stands by a cordon in place at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 5, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The couple, named locally as Dawn Sturgess 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 were taken to Salisbury District Hospital on Saturday and remain there in a critical condition. In March Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were poisoned with the Russian-made Novichok in the town of Salisbury. British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attack on the former spy and his daughter, expelling 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 05: A police officer stands by a cordon in place at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 5, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The couple, named locally as Dawn Sturgess 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 were taken to Salisbury District Hospital on Saturday and remain there in a critical condition. In March Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were poisoned with the Russian-made Novichok in the town of Salisbury. British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attack on the former spy and his daughter, expelling 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:02
Russia denies involvement in poisoning attacks
Reuters
Now playing
00:54
May: Nerve agent poisoning deeply disturbing
 A CNN team accessed the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) crash site, July 30, 2014 and found evidence that there are still belongings at the site, including pieces of the plane .
Raja Razek/CNN
A CNN team accessed the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) crash site, July 30, 2014 and found evidence that there are still belongings at the site, including pieces of the plane .
Now playing
00:49
Investigators: MH17 downed by Russian missile
Yulia Skripal poses for the media during an interview in n London, Wednesday May 23, 2018. Yulia Skripal says recovery has been slow and painful, in first interview since nerve agent poisoning. (Dylan Martinez/Pool via AP)
Dylan Martinez/AP
Yulia Skripal poses for the media during an interview in n London, Wednesday May 23, 2018. Yulia Skripal says recovery has been slow and painful, in first interview since nerve agent poisoning. (Dylan Martinez/Pool via AP)
Now playing
02:34
Daughter of poisoned ex-spy: Lucky to be alive
GOOGLE EARTH
Now playing
01:28
Russia blames Israel for strikes on Syria
CNN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/GETTY IMAGES
Now playing
02:36
Why Hungary is looking more and more like Russia
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on March 27, 2018. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow on March 27, 2018. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:26
Russia retaliates, expels 60 US diplomats
Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin addresses the crowd during a rally and a concert celebrating the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander Zemlianichenko        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Presidential candidate, President Vladimir Putin addresses the crowd during a rally and a concert celebrating the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander Zemlianichenko (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:35
Russia votes: How the day unfolded
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with Russian athletes and team members, who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on January 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Alexey NIKOLSKYALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with Russian athletes and team members, who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on January 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Alexey NIKOLSKYALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:47
How do you become president of Russia?

Story highlights

Russia's main military assets in Syria include SU-34 fighter jets with a fully digital cockpit

(CNN) —  

Despite Russia’s claim that it would withdraw most of its forces from Syria, it maintains a strong presence at its airbase near Latakia.

While some assets have been removed, others have been added. Here are Russia’s main combat assets in Syria.

SU-34 Strike Aircraft

Two Russian SU-34s on the tarmac at Hmeymim base in northern Syria, May 4, 2016.
Frederick Pleitgen/CNN
Two Russian SU-34s on the tarmac at Hmeymim base in northern Syria, May 4, 2016.

  • SU-34 is Russia’s most advanced fighter bomber. Its cockpit is fully digital and spacious for a military aircraft, made for long missions.
  • The SU-34 is used for aerial bombardment of ground targets. It can carry both unguided and guided munitions and has a very large payload.
  • It can hold about eight tons of weapons.
  • CNN saw at least six such aircraft at the Hmeymim airbase and several were loaded with bombs and took off for combat missions while we were there.

SU-24 Strike Aircraft

A SU-24 Russian strike aicraft at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, May 4, 2016.
Frederick Pleitgen/CNN
A SU-24 Russian strike aicraft at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, May 4, 2016.

  • The SU-24s fly the majority of Russia’s bombing missions in Syria. Like the SU-34, it is a strike aircraft, designed to combat targets on the ground.
  • The SU-24 was developed during the Cold War and has been in use since the 1980s.
  • In Syria, the Russian air force flies a modernized version of the plane with advanced targeting systems. Last year, one SU-24 was lost when it was shot down by a Turkish fighter jet causing an international incident between NATO and Russia.
  • We saw around a dozen SU-24 aircraft at the Hmeymim airbase with many taking off for missions in a very short time span

SU-35 Jet Fighter

A Russian SU-35 takes off from the Hmeimim base in northern Syria, May 4, 2016.
Fred Pleitgen/CNN
A Russian SU-35 takes off from the Hmeimim base in northern Syria, May 4, 2016.

  • The SU-35’s deployment to Syria is a direct result of the Turkish shooting down of a Russian SU-24 last year.
  • The SU-35 is an air superiority fighter jet built for dog fights against enemy planes.
  • In Syria, the Russians often keep SU-35s in the sky when their strike aircraft are on missions to ensure their safety.
  • But the SU-35 has only a single seat cockpit with advanced avionics and targeting systems to fight several aircraft simultaneously.
  • We saw at least six SU-35 with several taking off on missions at the Hmeymim airbase.

Mi-28 Helicopter Gunship

Russian Mil Mi-28 helicopter gunships fly above the Kremlin's cathedrals in Moscow, on May 7, 2014.
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Russian Mil Mi-28 helicopter gunships fly above the Kremlin's cathedrals in Moscow, on May 7, 2014.

  • The Mi-28 is the newest addition to Russia’s air borne fighting force in Syria. It is a classical gunship, a two-seat attack helicopter with guided missiles and a powerful machine gun mounted under the cockpit.
  • While the Mi-28 – which NATO calls the “Havoc” – has only been in Syria for a short time, one has already crashed near Homs in central Syria. Details of the incident are still under investigation but the Russian defense ministry recently said they believe human error by the pilot may have played a part in bringing the chopper down, killing both crew members.
  • We saw Mi-28s constantly hovering over the Hmeymim base while we were there.
  • They often gave protection to aircraft taking off from the air strip flying parallel until they were at a safe altitude. It is unclear how many of these helicopters are operated by Russia in Syria.

Mi-24 Gunship / Transport Helicopter

Mil Mi-24 Hind large helicopter gunships during a military parade rehearsal, May 7, 2015, Russia.
Handout/Getty Images Europe/Host photo agency / RIA Novosti
Mil Mi-24 Hind large helicopter gunships during a military parade rehearsal, May 7, 2015, Russia.

  • The Mi-24 is one of the most well known Russian combat helicopters. In Syria Mi-24s – which NATO refers to as the “Hind” – are often used to support Syrian ground targets, attacking opposition forces with its powerful weaponry.
  • The Mi-24 has a wide range of mostly unguided missiles and a very powerful machine cannon. It is operated by a crew of two – a pilot and a weapons operator – but can also take on several passengers in a compartment in its hull.
  • Videos shot by Syrian rebels have shown the Mi-24 in combat over towns in the country.
  • The combat helicopter went into service in the 1970s and was widely used in Afghanistan. The Russians use a highly upgraded version in Syria.

Military might

On top of these main combat aircraft, CNN also saw a wide array of transport helicopters and planes as well as tanks, armored vehicles and surface to air missile systems. This shows that Russia maintains a powerful presence in the Syrian civil war.