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Russian military personnel killed in shelling of Khmeimim air base in Syria

Russian military personnel killed in shelling of Khmeimim air base in Syria

Earlier, Kommersant newspaper reported citing two unnamed military and diplomatic sources that militants linked to a terrorist group shelled the airbase and destroyed seven Russian military planes, specifically four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35C fighter jets and an Antonov An-72 transport aircraft on December 31.

As reported, "the Syrian security forces are taking measures to search for and destroy the militants involved in the attack, as well as to strengthen the defense of the territory adjacent to the airbase".

The ministry said that two servicemen were killed in a rebel mortar attack on the air base on New Year's Eve, but that no planes had been destroyed.

"The Kommersant report on alleged "actual destruction" of seven Russian war planes at Hmeymim air base is fake", TASS said, citing the ministry.

More than 40 Russian military personnel have died in Syria since Moscow launched a campaign of air strikes in September 2015, in many cases using Hmeimim as a base.

The ministry said the Mil Mi-24 military helicopter crashed due to a "technical malfunction" on December 31 while it was flying to the Hama Military Air Base in Hama. The report also claimed that more than 10 military personnel were injured in the mortar attack.

Russian Federation began establishing a permanent presence at Hmeymim and a naval base at Tartous last month, although President Vladimir Putin has ordered a "significant" withdrawal of his military from Syria, declaring their work largely done.


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