Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Russia's Troop Withdrawal From Syria Will Not Shorten Its Clout, Experts Say

The Syrian Regime Dropped no less than 6,243 Barrel Bombs on Syria in 2017 Syrian rebels launch 'drone attack' on Russian airbase in Latakia
Delores Daniels | 13 January, 2018, 01:13

"Ten drones carrying explosives attacked the Russian air base at Hmeimim and three others targeted the Russian naval base in Tartus", both in western Syria, the ministry said in a statement run by Russian press agencies.

The ministry reported earlier this month that 13 drones had been used in attempted attacks on two Russian military facilities in Syria on January 6.

Each of them carried several explosive devices under their wings, and were guided from up to 100km away by Global Positioning System.

Eric Pahon, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, told The Independent: "Any suggestion the US, the coalition or our partnered forces played a role in an attack on a Russian base is without any basis in fact and utterly irresponsible".

The Russian bases did not suffer any causalities or damage, according to Moscow's ministry of defense.

One of the myriad Syrian opposition groups is the most probable suspect, Suchkov said. Syrian air defences intercepted one rocket, but several more hit "near a military position, causing material damage", it added.

ISIS has also recently retaken portions of Idlib, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's declaration of victory in Syria late a year ago.

Unusually, no faction in Syria had claimed responsibility for the drone or mortar attacks.

The rebel groups responded to the Russian escalation with attacks on Russian targets in Syria, including Khmeimim air base. An earlier Pentagon statement allowed the Russian military to “take a new look at some unusual coincidences” surrounding the incident, it said. In recent months, however, the Russian military brass has become increasingly critical of the USA role in Syria, accusing it of protecting militants who can carry out future battles against Assad - a claim the US has angrily denied.

The ministry said it has sent letters to Turkey's military leaders, asking them to use monitors to help prevent further attacks from Idlib.

While Russia will continue its military intervention, it will at the same time seek a peaceful resolution between the Syrian government and the opposition groups to guarantee its influence in the future of the country, Clarke said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the Sochi gathering is part of an effort to resolve Syria's almost seven-year war on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and encourage direct talks in Geneva between Syrian government representatives and moderate Syrian "opposition" delegates. They say the declaration by Putin could be aimed at the domestic audience in Russian Federation, as he is bidding for another presidential run in the country's upcoming elections in March.

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