Russian Special Forces Eliminate Militants Behind Syrian Airbase Attacks


The Russian military announced late on Friday that it has tracked down and eliminated a group of rebels involved in attacks on Russia’s main base in Syria after mobilizing “all manpower and materiel of Russia’s multilevel military intelligence system in Syria” and especially its elite special forces troops.

The previous New Year’s Eve attack was carried out by a small squad of insurgents armed with mortars who were able to kill two Russian servicemen while damaging up to seven aircraft at Khmeimim Airbase outside of Latakia, Syria and constitutes the single largest loss of Russian military hardware throughout the Syria campaign.

Russian special forces soldiers in Syria. Image source: Russian military media via The Washington Post

This was followed by a January 6 coordinated attack on the base involving 13 heavily armed drones which captured headlines this week as Russian defense officials, including President Putin himself, said the militants must have had outside help or state sponsorship, given the sophistication of the operation and presence of advanced satellite and weapons technology the UAVs were outfitted with.

Damage to one of the seven Russian jets disabled through the December 31 mortar attack on Khmeimim Airbase. Photo via Roman Saponkov

In response to both attacks, Russian special forces units were immediately mobilized and conducted targeted operations based on intelligence which identified the location of the initial mortar attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry indicated the full scope of its intelligence and special ops resources were brought to bear for the operation. According to Russia’s TASS news:

A group of Russian Special Operation Forces established the militants’ location close to the western border of the Idlib province.

“When the terrorists arrived at the facility where they were to board a minibus, the whole subversive group was eliminated by the Krasnopol high-precision munition [see below],” the ministry said. The Russian Defense Ministry added that all manpower and materiel of Russia’s multilevel military intelligence system in Syria had been involved in the operation.

The 2K25 Krasnopol is a Russian 152 mm cannon-launched, fin-stabilized, base bleed-assisted, semi-automatic laser-guided, explosive projectile. It automatically ‘homes’ on a point illuminated by a laser designator, typically operated by a ground-based artillery observer. Source: Wiki Commons

Simultaneous to this operation defense officials said Russian artillery targeted and destroyed a drone assembly plant and storage depot in nearby al-Qaeda controlled Idlib, believed to have possibly been part of the …read more



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