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How Russia defends its Syrian air base from attacks

Russia has been using attacks on its air base in Khmeimim as a leverage in talks with Turkey over Idlib, but has also taken some practical steps to counter the assaults.
Russian military jets are seen at Hmeymim air base in Syria, June 18, 2016. Picture taken June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - S1AETKWCWFAA

Since the bombing of the Russian military base in Khmeimim on New Year’s Day, the danger of an assault from the air became a routine one for Russian troops. Today, Russian military commanders are using the peril of drone attacks as a reason to start a military campaign in Idlib in the nearest future. It’s possible, however, that Russia's use of the information about the bombings is only an instrument to express its discontent with how Turkey is implementing the Sochi agreement.

Over the last two months, the Russian Defense Ministry has been reporting about damage from multiple launch rocket system missiles, and from drones launched by militants from the Idlib de-escalation zone in order to adjust targeting or to drop fragmentation ammunition. According to official statistics, Khmeimim was shelled five times in May and 12 times in April.

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