Small Wars Journal

Russian Gains in Syria Threatened by Series of Rebel Attacks

Russian Gains in Syria Threatened by Series of Rebel Attacks by Vladimir Isachenkov – Associated Press

Just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in Syria, Russian military outposts in the country have come under rebel attacks that are challenging Moscow's gains.

Russian bases located in Syrian President Bashar Assad's Alawite heartland had been immune to rebel raids ever since Moscow launched its campaign in Syria in September 2015. But a series of drone attacks and mortar and rocket shelling in recent days has broken the calm.

The incursions have raised doubts both about the sustainability of the Assad government's recent victories and Moscow's ability to protect its assets in the country.

A drone raid on Saturday was unusually massive, involving 13 of the aircraft equipped with satellite navigation and launched from a distance of up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) away, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. It said seven of the drones were shot down by air defense systems and the remaining six were forced to land.

While the ministry said the attack caused no damage to the Hemeimeem air base in the province of Latakia and the naval outpost in the Syrian port of Tartus, it marked the first time the militants used drones against Russian assets on such a large scale.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks…

Read on.