Kremlin says Russian troops able to fend off attacks in Syria

Attacks by more than a dozen combat drones on Russian bases in Syria have been defeated — and though it’s pulling troops from Syria, the Kremlin said Tuesday enough soldiers are being left behind to guard against more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in Sochi, Russia, on November 20, 2017. File Photo by Michael Klimentyev/Kremlin/EPA-EFE/Pool
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in Sochi, Russia, on November 20, 2017. File Photo by Michael Klimentyev/Kremlin/EPA-EFE/Pool

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday’s attacks on the Hmeymim and Tartus bases by 13 drones were thwarted — with seven shot down and six forced to land.

The Russian bases did not suffer any causalities or damage, according to Moscow’s ministry of defense.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Syria and declared victory in the long fight against the Islamic State militant group. At the time, he announced the pullout of Russian troops. Putin later announced Russia would maintain a “permanent presence” at the Tartus and Hmeymim bases.

Peskov said everyone, including Putin, are aware that terrorists’ attacks will not stop overnight.

“The remaining contingent and military infrastructure at Hmeymim and Tartus have the necessary capabilities to counter sporadic terrorist hit-and-run raids, which will regrettably continue,” Peskov said. “This merely emphasizes the need for stepping up political settlement efforts.”

In addition to fighting terrorists in Syria, Russia has also been Damascus’ largest ally in the fight between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and U.S.-supported opposition forces.

By Susan McFarland