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Rebel drones 'hit largest Russian airbase in Syria again' Open in fullscreen

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Rebel drones 'hit largest Russian airbase in Syria again'

Russia officially took over Hmeimim airbase in January [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2018

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Reports of another attack on the Russian Hmeimim military airbase in Syria have emerged, nearly two months after the last attack.
Suspected rebel drones carried out a new attack on the largest Russian military base in Syria in the early hours of Sunday morning, reported a war monitor, more than two months after a similar attack.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that no casualties had been reported yet, but Russian forces in the base managed to abort the attacks of the drones on the Hmeimim military airbase in the countryside of Jebla city located in Latakia province.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the drone but they are likely to belong to one of the rebel factions operating in the area.

Last week, dozens were killed when a Russian transport plane crashed while landing at Moscow’s airbase in Syria. In preliminary findings, the defence ministry said in a statement that the reason for the crash could have been technical.

All 32 on board - 26 passengers and six crew members - were killed, the ministry said. The transporter was around 500 metres from the runway.

The latest accident comes after a Sukhoi military jet crashed while trying to take off from Hmeimim in October last year, killing two crew members.

Russia's most recent officially acknowledged military loss in battle in Syria was last month when a pilot was killed after his plane was downed over Idlib province.

Russia's official military losses in the war before the crash were 45.

Russia provides the bulk of the Syrian regime's arsenal, which has been used extensively during the war.

Since Russia-backed regime forces launched an assault on the besieged enclave outside Damascus on February 18, over a thousand civilians have been killed.

Bombardment and clashes in Eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel stronghold near the capital, have persisted despite a month-long ceasefire demanded by the Security Council more than a week ago.

Fighting was sparked in 2011 after peaceful protests were brutally suppressed by regime troops leading to mass defections from the Syrian army. 

Russia joined the war in 2015, after forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad suffered a series of military defeats against the rebels.

Since Russian airstrikes began, regime forces have managed to push the opposition back to a number of enclaves but the cost has been devastating for civilians.

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