Russian artists perform at Moscow’s Syria airbase
Russian artists performed a New Year concert for their country’s servicemen at Moscow’s Syrian air base Hmeimim on Dec. 30. “This is not my first performance at a military base, but my first in Syria,” singer Anton Makarskiy told Russian television channel Zvezda, owned by the Defence Ministry, which aired footage of the concert.
“I don’t know who gets more joy, those for whom we are performing or us just by shaking hands (with the soldiers) and to soak in the strength and spirit there is here,” he added.
Well known Russian singer Zara gave the soldiers letters from schoolchildren with wishes for the New Year, the most celebrated holiday in Russia.
“I ask the guys what they would like (to hear) and I sing it,” Russian actor Sergei Makhovikov told Zvezda.Putin made a surprise visit to the Hmeimim base earlier this month where he ordered the start of a pullout of Russian troops, saying their task in the war-torn country had largely been completed.Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military had completed the partial withdrawal ordered by Putin. Special forces troops, a medical unit, a battalion of military police, doctors and deminers have been brought back to Russia, Shoigu said.
Three battalions of military police and officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation will remain in Syria, Shoigu added, along with its two bases in the country. Russia became involved in the multi-front conflict in September 2015, when it began an aerial campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s military.