The Improvised Drone Attacks On Khmeimim And Tartus, Russian Military Bases In Syria

If one accepts the official statement by the Kremlin – and a great deal of online speculation – the 5th-6th of January 2018 witnessed a major night-time armed drone attack on two Russian military installations in north-western Syria, a region controlled by the Assad regime in Damascus. According to officials in Moscow, at least ten small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), each carrying several explosive devices or bombs, flew towards the important Khmeimim airbase near the major port city of Latakia, while another three moved southward along the coast towards the naval logistics facility at Tartus. Seven of the drones were allegedly shot down by nearby batteries of the Pantsir-S1 air defence system, the remaining aircraft falling to rather mysterious electronic countermeasures employed by specialist troops from Russia.

Allegedly downed improvised military drones from the 5th-6th of January attack

A Russian account of the incident claimed that the UAVs were apparently launched from up to 100 kilometres away, using onboard GPS devices and altimeters to fly towards their planned targets. This, however, remains the subject of much scepticism. Indeed, the whole event has become wrapped up in propaganda, misinformation, exaggeration and conspiracy theories. Nick Waters has done a good job of analysing some of the evidence for Bellingcat, though I would suggest that you read the report and do some further research of your own before reaching a conclusion.

Finally, events in Syria may be about to take a dramatic turn for the worse if fears about a further Turkish intervention into the civil war (or more accurately, wars) prove correct. The autocratic government of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems to be on a new collision course with the local, Syrian Kurdish allies of the United States.

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