Turkey Urges Russia, Iran to Stop Syrian Army Offensive in Idlib

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The statement came a day after the Defense Ministry said that 13 armed drones were used to attack its facilities in Hmeimim and Tartus overnight on January 5-6.

Russia's Defense Ministry said late on Monday that its forces have repelled a series of drone attacks on its bases in Syria - the Hemeimeem air base and a naval facility in Tartus.

The Russian Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones - the first time such a coordinated assault has been reported in a military action. The Pentagon's statement now allows the Russian military to "take a new look at some odd coincidences" surrounding the incident, it said.

Alhamrat Street in Tartus, Syria, where Russian Federation keeps a military air base.

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"France condemns the intense bombardments carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime's air force and its allies in the Idlib region in recent days, particularly those targeting the civilian population and several hospitals", France's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Two soldiers were killed in an attack on New Year's Eve.

Putin said on December 28 that more than 48,000 Russian military personnel had served in the operation in Syria, and that Russia's presence at Hmeimim and Tartus would be "permanent".

In a letter sent to top Turkish officials, Russian Federation said it held Turkey responsible for the drone attacks, which it described as a breach of their cease-fire deal in Idlib province, according to the Defense Ministry newspaper.

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According to an analysis by defence consultancy firm HIS Markit group, most Isis drones had a range of no more than 2km, making the terrorist group one of the unlikelier culprits.

Turkey says the Syrian government advance has been supported by waves of air strikes by Russian and Iranian warplanes.

Muwazarra has been on the front line of the war between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the earliest days of the war, when the region quickly came under the control of USA -allied moderate rebels with the Syrian Revolutionary Forces.

The group said the base was targeted by drones belonging to an "Islamist faction" operating in the area.

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The daring use of short-range mortars also pointed to the inability of Syrian forces to protect the Alawite heartland from hit-and-run raids by the rebels. According to that theory, Iran wants to thwart Russia's efforts to impose a peace settlement on Syria that would undermine Iranian interests.

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