AMMAN - Syria's air force has redeployed 30 Sukhoi fighter-bomber jets closer to cities where the army is battling to crush rebels in the north and east of the country, an opposition group said on Tuesday.
The Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-22 planes, which can drop 400 kg (881 pound) bombs, flew from the Dumair and Sim air bases north and east of Damascus on Monday to bases in the city of Hama Tabaqa and Deir al-Zor, a senior official in the Higher Leadership Council for the Syrian Revolution said.
"This type of Sukhoi is more geared to bombing missions than aerial combat. They are now within a more manageable range to hit the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Deir al-Zor and areas in Idlib province," Mohammad Mroueh told Reuters from Amman.
The redeployment comes as Syrian President Bashar Assad - who is thought to have at least 555 combat planes at his disposal - is trying to put down a 17-month-old uprising against his rule with few signs that either side is gaining the upper hand.