Russian Forces in Syria Repelled Massive Drone Attack on Hmeimim and Tartus
Capturing 13 improvised, armed suicide drones
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By Tamir Eshel - Jan 8, 2018 -Defense Update
Syrian militants began using drone attacks in Syria; following repeated strikes against Russian ground forces operating in the country, Russian and Syrian forces repelled a massive attack on Saturday night, downing and capturing 13 improvised, armed suicide drones. The recent attack included ten drones directed against the Russian forces at the Hmeimim airbase near Latakia; another strike targeted the Russian maritime logistical base at Tartus with three drones.
The identity of the faction responsible for these attacks has yet to be disclosed, but the frequency of attacks and rapid growth in the number of drones used in each strike indicate the high level of maturity and know-how acquired by the perpetrators.
According to Russian and Syrian media reports, several drone attacks occurred in the past week. On the night of December 31th, 2017 two Russian service members were killed in what was described as a mortar attack on the Hmeimim airbase. Syrian insurgents claimed several Russian aircraft were damaged in the attack, but the Russian Ministry of Defense denied this despite that some photos aired on Southfront.org clearly showed the damage. Rebel sources later said that drones were also used in that attack but provided no evidence to their claim.
Armed drones were used two days later, as improvised armed drones attempted to attack a Russian mine clearing operation near Homs, on January 2nd. Another drone strike followed two days later, as improvised drones dropped small mortar bombs on the Syrian town of Qardaha, east of Latakia, and on the village of Jableh near the Russian airbase at Hmeimim. Both drones were downed by Syrian machine gun fire, although it is not clear if this incident was supported by the Russians.
The largest and most recent attack happened two days ago, on January 6th, as 13 improvised armed drones were launched against two Russian bases – the air force contingent at Hmeimim and the naval logistical base in Tartus. This time some of the drones managed to reach the base's perimeter, three of them were downed by Pantsir anti-aircraft fire along with heavy and medium machine gun fire.
Russian government sources confirmed the news, claiming all drones were detected, tracked and neutralized – downed or captured by counter-UAV and air defenses. Russian operated Electronic Warfare assets managed to defeat six of the drones, and take control and land three of them. Three of the drones penetrated the base perimeter but did not cause damage or casualties, Russian sources confirmed. The official report said Russian electronic surveillance detected the attacking drones 'at a considerable distance from the objectives'.
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