Jihadists in Syria shell Russian airbase


Syrian militants fired 36 rockets at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in two attacks on Monday, but both were repelled by the air defenses with no damage dealt, the Russian military said, adding that jets launched strikes in response.

The shelling came from the Idlib de-escalation zone, controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front), the head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, said.

The militants used a drone to direct the fire from multiple launch rocket systems, but the attacks were repelled by Khmeimim’s air defense systems.

Russian warplanes and Syrian artillery then flattened the positions from which the rockets were launched, Kupchishin added.

The shelling of the Russian base occurred on the same day as the Syrian forces carried out their largest offensive so far this year against the last major militant stronghold in the country. The operation saw the village of al-Bani and the nearby strategic Othman hill in north-western Hama Province retaken by Damascus.

Khmeimim has been a frequent target of attempted attacks by terrorist groups, who used rockets and explosive-laden drones to target the base. None of the attacks have been successful, but the Russian military have sounded alarms over the jihadists being in possession of advanced technology, saying they may use them against less-protected targets in Syria and elsewhere.