March 21, 2018

Russian troops in Syria fight off 'swarm' of rebel drones

12 January 2018, 05:22 | Lucia Cruz

Fields just outside the air base would make an ideal hiding spot from which to attack. Google Earth Business Insider

Hmeynim air base russia syria mortar attack

The ministry said the Hemeimeem air base and a naval facility in Tartus were the targets.

Hof said Putin is trying to convince Russian voters that the conflict in Syria and the country's role in it are gradually declining, even as Russian jets increased their support for the Syrian government forces in recent days.

Read the whole story from Radio Free Europe.

On Wednesday, the defence ministry announced the drones' launch site was located in the southwestern region of Idlib, a province controlled by several rebel factions and insurgents in the ongoing civil war. But the Russians have hinted that the technology used was too advanced for local militants, seen as a suggestion it could have been supplied by USA forces in the vicinity - something the Pentagon says is "absolutely false".

No deaths or material damage were recorded in the attempted attack on Hmeimem airbase, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with the drone shot down close to the airport in Latakia province.

But the attack could indicate that militants opposed to the government of President Bashar Assad were stepping up the violence directed against the Russian military, which intervened in September 2015 to prop up the beleaguered Syrian government, then its main ally in the Middle East.

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Another seven drones were "eliminated" by Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missiles fired by the Russians, with the bases reporting no casualties or damage, the statement explains.

The Russian and the US militaries have maintained regular contacts to avoid conflict between their forces in Syria.

"Russia's military intervention in Syria and its repeated use of the veto at the United Nations Security Council makes Russian Federation a party to the conflict", The Guardian quoted the group as saying.

It also said in an earlier post that the perpetrators needed technology from "countries with high-technological capabilities" and the drones' explosive devices had "foreign detonating fuses". In recent months, however, the Russian military brass has become increasingly critical of the US role in Syria, accusing it of protecting militants who can carry out future battles against Assad - a claim the USA has angrily denied. We take appropriate force protection measures to ensure Coalition forces and our partners can safely carry out their missions.

If the report is accurate, the Russian forces are lucky the attack wasn't worse, because whoever unleashed these drones wasn't fooling around.

It said the group had already tried to destroy Syrian Army de-mining units using UAVs.

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