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Russia repels 3rd drone attack on Hmeimim base: Defense Ministry

Local | 2019-08-13 00:53:00
Russia repels 3rd drone attack on Hmeimim base: Defense Ministry
Russia’s military has thwarted the third attack on its airbase in Syria in the past week, Russian news agencies have reported.

The attacks took place as Russia’s ally Syria said last week it was resuming military operations in a Russian-led campaign in Idlib, blaming Turkey for not abiding by its commitments under a truce deal. Two earlier drone strikes by militants on Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in northwest Syria were reported last week, resulting in two civilians killed on Thursday and four injured on Monday, according to  Moscow Times.

Anti-aircraft weapons based in Hmeimim have shot down six drones “at a safe distance,” Interfax quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying Sunday evening.

There were no military or civilian casualties, the ministry added.

Militants have regularly attacked the Hmeimim airbase, which has been operating since Russia launched its military operation in Syria in 2015, the RBC news website reported.

Since the beginning of northwest Syria offensive late April, regime and Russia airstrikes have killed more than 800 civilians and displaced more than 440,000.

 The offensive has made slower progress than any by Bashar al-Assad since Russia entered the war on his side in 2015, prompting a run of military victories that have brought most of Syria back under his rule.

Rebels fighting to oust him are now concentrated in the northwestern enclave, covering most of Idlib province and parts of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces, though they also have a small presence in the southeast near the border with Jordan.

The northwest offensive has also prompted warnings by the United Nations and aid agencies of a new humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people having fled the violence to seek shelter at the border with Turkey.

The regime military air strikes have targeted hospitals, schools, water points, markets, bakeries and other civilian infrastructure, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Mumtzis, has said.

 On Sunday, the Russian reconciliation center in Hmeimym air base said 23 regime forces had been killed by rebels in the past 48 hours, seeking to justify the brutal bombing on the northwest Syria despite the Eid al-Adha holiday.

Fighting since Saturday has killed more than 100 fighters from both sides as the army and its allies unleashed about 2,000 air and artillery strikes against rebels dug into Syria’s northwest, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rebels and jihadists have killed more than 130,000 pro-regime forces since the armed conflict erupted eight years ago with the brutal repression of protests against Assad, according to local monitoring groups.
   
The Russian intervention in Syria was officially announced on Sept. 30, 2015, after an official request by the Assad regime for military aid against rebel groups.

Syria's war has killed more than 560,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests. 

Zaman al-Wasl, Moscow Times
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