Wooden drone swarm attacks Russian forces in Syria

Roman Saponkov  VK

The outlines of a potential new deal appear to be emerging under which Russia agrees to prevail upon the Syrian government to refrain from attacking any more opposition territory and Turkey agrees to prevent the opposition from attacking Russian bases, said Jennifer Cafarella of the Institute for the Study of War.

The size of the toal Russian deployment in Syria is not known but independent Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer told AFP that up to 10,000 troops and private contractors could have taken part in the conflict.

The events of recent days are a demonstration "that whoever conducted these attacks can still penetrate regime areas and impose costs on the Russians", Cafarella said.

Of the 13 drones used in the attacks, seven were destroyed while the six others were intercepted by the Russian army, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The comments come after Russia's Defense Ministry noted in a statement the "strange coincidence" of a USA military intelligence plane flying over the Mediterranean near the Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility at the moment of the attacks.

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The MoD also said that a United States spy plane flew over Syria around the time of the attack, which helped the rebels target the drones. Among the questions being asked in Moscow, he said, are whether the Russian military had adequately secured the base and whether it had failed to detect the acquisition of new technology by its adversaries. "That action wouldn't have been possible without involvement of American structures", said Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party and a member of the lower house.

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

Idlib has become a focal point of the Syrian war as government forces and allied militia have thrust towards an insurgent-held air base. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman.

Turkey called on Russian Federation and Iran on Wednesday to pressure Syrian authorities to halt a military offensive in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, which Damascus launched despite an global deal to reduce hostilities there. The Russian military denied that the attack damaged its aircraft.

Russia's ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov and Iranian ambassador Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard were called in to express Turkey's discontent over the continuing attacks in Idlib.

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