Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Moscow Admits Drones Attacked Hmeimim, Tartus Bases

Moscow Admits Drones Attacked Hmeimim, Tartus Bases

Without directly blaming any specific country, the Russian military said the necessary data and capability for the attacks could only have been obtained "from one of the countries that possesses know-how in satellite navigation" - a statement that appeared to be directed at the United States.

As part of the de-escalation zones, agreed in a tripartite consensus between Iran, Russian and Turkey, Turkish forces are also now in Syria's Idlib province, monitoring the process in the military posts set up in the province. Many opposition groups are refusing to attend, citing increased Russian military interference.

The ministry also said the drones that tried to attack Hmeymim and Tartus had been launched from the area of Muazzar, in the southwestern part of the de-escalation zone Idlib, held by the armed groups of the so-called moderate opposition.

She said the incidents were proof that "whoever conducted these attacks can still penetrate regime areas and impose costs on the Russians".

The move - involving the development of technology to reliably zap drones - comes amid fears that terrorists could use sophisticated long-distance weapons to target nuclear bases.

The development comes one day after the Russian Ministry of Defense implied that the USA had helped coordinate the drone attacks on Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility.

A monitoring group, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the attacks were carried out by an Islamist rebel faction that operates in Latakia Province, where the Hmeimim base is located, according to the Associated Press news agency.

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The forces had advanced to within three km of the air base on Wednesday, said a military media unit run by Lebanon's Hezbollah, which fights on the Syrian army's side. The Russian defence ministry was forced to deny reports that seven warplanes were damaged in the attack.

The attack also came less than a week after two Russian servicemen were killed during a mortar assault on the base.

Last month the YPG militia said it had fully captured Deir al-Zor's eastern countryside from Islamic State with the help of both the US -led coalition and Russian Federation.

"They thought the base was secure, but now it seems it is vulnerable", Maxim Suchkov of the Russian International Affairs Council told The Washington Post. "Terrorists for the first time massively used unmanned aerial aircraft, launched from a range of more than 50 km with the use of modern guidance technology on the satellite Global Positioning System coordinates", reported the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian Federation said it was also controlled by Turkish armed forces.

President Vladimir Putin last month ordered the withdrawal of most Russian troops from Syria.

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