Putin Says He Knows Who Was Behind Attack On Russia’s Syria Bases

Image / (Reuters).

The Russian president Vladimir Putin said (Thursday) it is known which “provocateur” was behind a drone attack which targeted Russian military bases in Syria earlier this month.

Putin added that he spoke to Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey had nothing to do with the attack, which the defense ministry has said took place overnight on Jan. 6.

Russia’s defense ministry on Thursday displayed a pair of drones that it said were captured following attacks on two Russian military bases in Syria, saying the attack required know-how indicating it was carried out with outside assistance.

The ministry said Saturday’s raid on the Hemeimeem air base in the province of Lattakia and Russia’s naval facility in the port of Tartus involved 13 drones. It said seven were downed by air defense systems and the remaining six were forced to land by Russian electronic warfare units.

Of the latter, three exploded when they hit the ground and three more were captured intact, the ministry said.

The defense ministry presented two primitive-looking drones at a briefing, arguing that they featured state-of-the art electronics that are less prone to jamming and allow precision strikes.

Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov, who heads the ministry’s drone department, said the drones used in the weekend’s raid on the Russian bases differed from the rudimentary craft earlier used by rebels in Syria. The attack required satellite navigation data that aren’t available on the Internet, complex engineering works and elaborate tests, Novikov said.

“The creation of drones of such class is impossible in makeshift conditions,” Novikov said. “Their development and use requires the involvement of experts with special training in the countries that manufacture and use drones.”

Novikov didn’t blame any specific country, but the Defense Ministry earlier referred to the “strange coincidence” of a US military intelligence plane allegedly barraging over the Mediterranean near the Russian bases when the attack took place.

The Pentagon strongly denied any involvement.

The defense ministry said the drones were launched from Al-Mouazzara in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, over 50 kilometers (more than 30 miles) away from the Russian bases.

The attack heightened tensions between Russia and Turkey, which wields significant influence with some rebel groups in Idlib. The province has become the main rallying point for various rebel factions after Syrian government forces won control over large swathes of territory thanks to Russian support.

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