A month since Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of most Russian forces from Syria, his military contingent there is as strong as ever, with fewer jets but many more attack helicopters able to provide closer combat support to government troops.

A Reuters analysis of publicly available tracking data shows no letup in supply missions: the Russian military has maintained regular cargo flights to its Hmeimim airbase in western Syria since Putin’s declaration on March 14.

Supply runs have also continued via the “Syrian Express” shipping route, Russian engineering troops have been deployed to the ancient city of Palmyra and further information has surfaced about Russian special forces operating in Syria – suggesting the Kremlin is more deeply embroiled in the conflict than it previously acknowledged. […]