Russia's Defense Ministry confirms attack on its air base in Syria, denies destruction of aircraft
Two Russian servicemen were killed when Hmeymim Air Base in Syria came under mortar fire on December 31, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, referring to the Russian Defense Ministry.
"After dark on December 31, 2017, the Hmeymim Air Base was suddenly attacked by a mobile subversive group of militants, who used mortars. Two servicemen were killed in the attack," RIA Novosti wrote.
As reported, "the Syrian security forces are taking measures to search for and destroy the militants involved in the attack, as well as to strengthen the defense of the territory adjacent to the airbase."
Read alsoRussian general seriously wounded in land mine blast in Syria – KommersantThe ministry called media reports, in particular, those by Russia's Kommersant, about the alleged "actual destruction" of seven Russian military aircraft at Hmeymim Air Base "fake news."
The Russian air group in Syria is in combat readiness and continues to perform all tasks in full, the ministry said.
It should be noted that the Russian daily Kommersant, referring to its two military and diplomatic sources, reported that radical Islamists fired mortar shells at the Russian Hmeymim Air Base in Syria on December 31. As a result, at least four Su-24 attack aircraft, two Su-35S fighters and one An-72 military transport aircraft were destroyed.
The publication also reported about the destruction of an ammunition depot at the airbase after a mortar shell had hit it. Kommersant writes it was one of the serious attacks since the launch of the Russian operation in Syria in late 2015. The daily notes that before this incident, all the Russian losses in Syria were "individual," and the air defense systems did not allow "a single fact of the violation of the security zones at Tartus and Hmeymim Air Bases."