Russian troops in Syria fight off 'swarm' of rebel drones

Syrian rebels launch 'drone attack' on Russian airbase in Latakia

At the time, he announced the pullout of Russian troops.

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. Russia shot down 7 with anti-aircraft missiles and the other 6 crashed or were otherwise disabled, which Russian officials are now crediting to electronic counter-measures against the drones.

Neither of the attacks has been claimed, heightening the mystery around who was responsible.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said on Monday its military was able to capture three of the "small-sized air targets of unknown identity".

The Defense Ministry posted photographs of one of the drones on its Facebook page, showing what looked like a homemade model aircraft that did not seem particularly sophisticated. "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.

The use of drones by militants in the battlefield persists also in Syria. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman. The Russian military denied that the attack damaged its aircraft. "Rather than have the Russian electorate focus on massive corruption or on a weak economy, Mr. Putin prefers to have them focus instead on Russia's alleged return to a great power status", Hof added.

The area is part of a de-escalation zone agreement in the Kazakh capital Astana a year ago between Turkey, which supports rebel groups, and Assad allies Iran and Russian Federation. The agreement has helped reduce fighting significantly and contributed to warmer ties between Russian Federation and Turkey.


The Russian Ministry of Defense had previously insinuated the United States had helped.

The Russian Defence Ministry statement said the drones used in the Khmeimim attack came from between 50-100km away, making them far more sophisticated and expanding the pool of potential suspects, the IHS analysis said.

"In two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most lethal group of worldwide terrorists", state news agency Tass quoted Putin as saying. That could significantly raise the stakes for Moscow.

During a visit to the airbase on December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory over "the most combat-capable global terrorist group" - a reference to the extremist group Islamic State (IS) - and announced a partial withdrawal of Russian troops.

"You have shown the best qualities of a Russian soldier - courage, valor, team spirit, decisiveness and excellent skills", he said.

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed.

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