Iranian FM in Russian Federation for talks on nuclear deal, Syria

Challenge for US in Syria is bending Russia to its will – Senate hearing

The Russian military has wiped out a subversive militant group, which shelled the Hmeymim airbase in Syria with mortars on December 31, ARMENPRESS reports, citing TASS, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

After it was located by the GRU, Russian forces destroyed the drone workshop with a laser-guided 2K25 Krasnopol artillery round according to the defense ministry.Both strikes were filmed by unmanned aerial vehicles.

Russian Federation has also now claimed a victory following a swarm of drone attacks last week that targeted Hmeymim air base and Tartus Naval Facility overnight on January 5 and January 6.

The drone attacks were the first time that "terrorists" had employed a "massed drone aircraft attack launched at a range of more than 50 [kilometers] using a modern GPS guidance system", the ministry said. The second involved 13 drones armed with bomblets, which were all either shot down or forced to land via means of electronic warfare by Russian forces.

The attack heightened tensions between Russian Federation and Turkey, which wields significant influence with some rebel groups in Idlib.

Moscow has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad and Ankara has supported his foes, but they struck a deal a year ago to set up de-escalation zones.

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Russian Federation has repeatedly insinuated that the rebels who carried out the drone attack on its military bases in Syria had help from the US, Turkey, and even Ukraine.

During the phone call initiated by Putin, the Russian president stated that Turkey had nothing to do with the drone attack on military targets in Syria. "These were provocations aimed at thwarting earlier agreements", Putin said.

"There were provocateurs, but they weren't the Turks", he said at a televised meeting with Russian newspaper editors Thursday.

The remark comes in the wake of Turkey's decision to summon Russian and Iranian envoys to the country, seeking to cease the Syrian government's violation of de-escalation zone borders in Idlib, claimed by Ankara, reported Sputnik.

Putin said the drones looked primitive but contained high-tech elements allowing precision satellite guidance and release of munitions.

On Dec. 11, Putin ordered the start of a withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, adding that the Tartus and Khmeimim bases would still be in use.

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