Russia: Military bases in Syria attacked by drones

Images purport to show damage to a Russian jet in Syria.   Joseph Dempsey via Twitter

Russian Federation said it held Turkey accountable for the drone attack, calling it a breach of their cease-fire agreement in northern Syria, while Turkey accused Russian Federation and Iran of jeopardizing the entire peace process by launching an offensive to take control of an opposition-held air base in the area.

Read the whole story from Radio Free Europe.

Russian and Syrian bombing runs have increased in Idlib in the last week, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 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 United States forces in the vicinity - something the Pentagon says is "absolutely false".

On Saturday, a swarm of armed drones, around thirteen in number, launched an attack against the Khmeimim Airbase and the maritime logistics facility in the city of Tartus.

This is the second attack on a Russian base in Syria in a week.

In December, Putin visited the Khmeimim base and said Russian Federation would start to wind its presence down because the war in Syria is essentially over.

Six days earlier, two Russian servicemen were killed in what was widely reported as a mortar attack on the Hmeimim base.

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"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.

Jennifer Cafarella, senior intelligence planner at the US-based Institute for the Study of War, told The Washington Post the attacks raised questions over Russia's claims the Syrian war was essentially finished. Terrorists' aircraft-type drones carried explosive devices with foreign detonating fuses. The Russian military denied that the attack damaged its aircraft.

"While these systems are certainly deadly, they have not had a significant impact on coalition operations to date".

The small drones were shot down by Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missiles before they caused any damage and there were no casualties, according to a statement on the military's Facebook page. It said data for the attacks could only have been obtained from countries possessing satellite navigation technology.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday said that Syrian regime forces were targeting the moderate opposition "on the pretext of fighting Al Nusra terror group".

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

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