Late on July 11, several loud explosions were heard near the Syrian coastal town of Jableh, where the Russian Hmeimim Air Base is located.
Sham FM, a Syrian radio station, reported that a number of hostile drones which attempted to attack the air base were intercepted by Russian air-defense systems. Local sources confirmed the launch of anti-aircraft missiles.
Some sources claimed that the hostile drones came from the sea direction. Nevertheless, there is no solid evidence to confirm this.
The Hemimim Air Base, which was established in 2015, hosts dozens of warplanes and thousands of Russian troops. The air base is protected by the layered air-defense network that can deal with all sorts of threats, including drones and rockets.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia is yet to reveal the details of the incident. Usually, the ministry addresses any serious attack in an official statement within a few days.
In the last two years, dozens of drone attacks targeted the Hmeimim Air Base and other military and civilian installations in Syria. According to Russian and Syrian sources, al-Qaeda’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, that controls the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, launched most of them.
The new attack on the Russian air base is a major escalation. Russian forces usually respond to such attacks with intensification of their operations against militants in Idlib.