details are still unclear, Damascus-based journalist Danny
Makki reports that numerous
drones have been downed by Russian air-defenses near Khmeimim
alternately Hmeimim airbase). In
the nearby coastal city of Jableh loud aerial explosions could be
heard sometime before 11pm local time — thought
to be Russian missile defense systems engaging the drones.
Russian Defense Ministry quickly acknowledged the attack, telling
RT News that"An
unmanned aircraft of unknown origin has been shot down near the
Russian Khmeimim airbase in Syria." And
further: "No one was injured in the incident and the base did
not sustain any damage," the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Russian Khmeimim airbase (alternately Hmeimim) in Syria.
additionally reports, based on the Russian Defense Ministry, that
"The flying object came close to the military facility late on
Monday and was destroyed by the air defenses of the base. Khmeimim
airfield continued to operate normally following the incident."
sources reported at least four explosions near Jableh, which as yet
unverified video appears to capture
East based Muraselon
Russian defense missiles were launched at the aircraft of "unknown
origin." However, the attack has all the hallmark features of an
al-Qaeda operation from nearby Idlib as the terror group has stepped
up makeshift drone and mortar attacks in the past months.
is the third reported drone attack on Russia's main military base in
Syria this year,
and the Russian military will likely respond by pounding Hay'at
Tahrir al-Sham positions (HTS, the al-Qaeda affiliate group in
control of Idlib).
during the nights of January 5th and 6th Khmeimim suffered
serious external attack to date by
up to 13 of what Popular
Mechanics identified as
"black market drones" but
which Russia said were American-supplied. A
prior mortar assault from HTS apparently prepping the drone invasion
had damaged multiple advanced Russian fighter aircraft.
that incident, which the Russian Defense Ministry called "a
massive attack" Russian defenses shot down at least seven drones
while safely electronically intercepting the other six. More
notably the January incident was the “first time that
terrorists massively used unmanned combat aerial vehicles of an
aircraft type that were launched from a distance of more than 50
kilometers, and operated using GPS satellite navigation coordinates,”
according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Syrian and the more advanced Russian aerial deterrence systems have
been on high alert of late due to frequent Israeli aircraft and
missile incursions. It's possible that al-Qaeda might also be testing
Russia's response and capabilities, perhaps in preparation for a
bigger surprise attack.