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Russia Says it Repelled Nusra Attack on Hmeimim

Russia Says it Repelled Nusra Attack on Hmeimim

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 10:30
Warplanes at the Hmeimim air base. AP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Russia's Ministry of Defense said on Monday that it had repelled a drone and missile attack on its main air base in Syria's Latakia Province and accused former Nusra Front militants of being behind the assault.

The RIA news agency cited the ministry as saying it had shot down six missiles fired at the Hmeimim air base.

Syrian regime forces have unilaterally ceased fire in the northern Idlib province, the last major opposition stronghold, Russia said Sunday, while activists reported continued shelling and airstrikes.

Fighting erupted in Idlib late last month, effectively shattering a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey that had been in place since September.

In a brief statement on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria said regime forces had ceased fire as of midnight. It described the move as unilateral, but did not give details.

But the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an airstrike on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, saying it inflicted casualties.

The opposition's Syrian Civil Defense also reported shelling near the town of Jisr al-Shughour without reporting any casualties.

Syrian regime forces intensified their attacks as of April 30 on Idlib. The area is home to some 3 million people, many of whom are internally displaced.

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