Russian Ministry of Defense announces deaths of militants who shelled Russian base in Syria

The Russian military has killed a group of militants who fired on the Khmeimim airbase in Syria on December 31, reported TASS.

The Ministry of Defense specified that the militant group was based near the western border of the Idlib province.

The report notes that Russian intelligence revealed the location of the final assembly and storage of unmanned vehicles in Idlib, and established a "continuous observation" of this place. Later on, the militants arrived at the location and began to prepare for a transfer to a minibus; at that moment, they were killed.

Kommersant, citing military sources, wrote earlier that the terrorist organization Ahrar al-Sham was involved in the attack on the Russian base in Syria. The publication reported that on December 31, radical Islamists fired mortar shells at the Russian-operated Khmeimim air base. As a result, at least four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 military transport aircraft were destroyed. The publication called the attack one of the most powerful against the entire Russian operation in Syria, which began in late 2015.

Military correspondent Roman Saponkov later published photographs of damaged aircraft. He specified that six Su-24 bombers, a Su-35S fighter, an An-72 and An-30 aircraft, as well as a Mi-8 helicopter, were damaged. Saponkov wrote that two Su-24 and Su-35S were put into operation.

The Russian Ministry of Defense called the information regarding the destruction of the aircraft "fake". At the same time, however, they reported the deaths of two Russian soldiers as a result of the attack.

  Russia, Syria, Khmeimim, Russian Ministry of Defense