The Russian military has repelled a massive drone attack on its bases in Syria, which was carried out by militants, Moscow said.
The extremists may have been aided by a “technologically advanced state,” it added.
The militants launched their assault during the night on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement. The Russian Kheimim Airbase in the Syrian Latakia province was attacked by 10 unmanned combat aerial vehicles, while three more attempted a strike against the Russian maritime logistics base located in the city of Tartus.
All of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems “at a considerable distance from the Russian military objects,” the ministry said. Seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.
The Russian radio electronic warfare specialists also managed to override the operating systems of six more drones, and eventually gained control over the UAVs. Three of them were destroyed when they hit the ground, while another three were landed intact outside the base controlled by Russian forces.
The ministry also confirmed that the attack had resulted in no casualties among Russian military personnel, and the two bases “continue to operate as normal.”
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In 2017, Russia and Syria finalized an agreement regulating the presence of Russian troops in Syria. Khmeimim Airbase, located near Latakia, and the naval site in the port city of Tartus have both been handed over, lease-free, to Russia for 49 years, and with an option of automatic extension unless either country chooses to terminate the deal. The Russian parliament ratified the Khmeimim deal in July and the Tartus deal on Tuesday.
Last month, the Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, adding that a smaller presence of the Russian forces would be required in the area following the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).