Turkey tensions with Iran, Russia mount ahead of Syria meet

Roman Saponkov  VK

Roman Saponkov VK

Security system of the Russian Khmeimim air base and Russian Naval CSS point in the city of Tartus successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) through the night of 5th - 6th January, 2018.

Russia's Defense Ministry says its military bases in Syria were attacked by drones last weekend.

Russian forces in Syria have come under attack by a swarm of apparently crudely made drones.

Now Russia is adding that a odd coincidence took place during the attack.

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 worldwide deal to reduce hostilities there.

More than 40 Russian military personnel died in Syria since Moscow launched a campaign of air strikes in September 2015, in many cases using Hmeimim as a base. Idlib province is nearly entirely controlled by anti-government forces that are dominated by a jihadist outfit known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) consisting mostly of former fighters from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

"Any suggestion the U.S., 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", Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon told Business Insider in an email, adding over the phone that the insinuation is "absolute bonkers".

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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.

According to an analysis by defence consultancy firm HIS Markit group, most Isis drones had a range of no more than 2km, making the terrorist group one of the unlikelier culprits.

The Russian bases did not suffer any causalities or damage, according to Moscow's ministry of defense. Idlib, bordering Turkey, is the largest single chunk of Syria still under the control of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Cavusoglu said Ankara would host a meeting on Syria with like-minded countries after the summit in Russia's Sochi.

The group said the base was targeted by drones belonging to an "Islamist faction" operating in the area.

Though the province is nominally part of a "de-escalation zone" established after negotiations between Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation previous year, there has been little respite for residents.

There have been reports in Arab media that the mortar attack might have come from within government controlled areas, hinting at local Alawite fighters or Iranian-backed gunmen seeking to send a message to Russian Federation.

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