SYRIAN air defence forces have reportedly managed to foil an attack by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants against the country’s strategic Hmeimim air base in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia.
Syria’s state-run al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news network reported that the country’s anti-aircraft defence systems intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles attacking the base on Tuesday evening.
The report added that explosions were heard as anti-aircraft defences opened fire at the drones.
On August 5th, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement that foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants had shelled the outskirts of the strategic Hmeimim air base, injuring a number of people.
The statement noted that the barrage did not hit the airbase, and that the military site is continuing its operations as normal.
‘The projectiles, instead, slammed into a nearby civilian village. According to Syrian security bodies, the militant shells fell on Ruaisaid Afif, resulting in injuries to four local residents,’ the ministry pointed out.
Russia has foiled several missile attacks by militants on the Hmeimim air base.
Back on May 23rd, the Russian defence ministry said its surface-to-air missile systems had managed to foil an attack by foreign-backed militants on the air base.
The ministry announced in a statement that militants positioned in the de-escalation zone of Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib had launched four missiles at the strategic base.
The statement added that Russian air defence systems destroyed all the projectiles before they could strike the site.
Russian air defence systems have thwarted a militant missile attack on the strategic Hmeimim airbase in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia.
The development came only a day after foreign-backed militants fired a barrage of missiles at the same Russian military site.
The Russian defence ministry stated that eight rockets launched by the extremists failed to reach the Hmeimim air base, while another nine were shot down by Russian air defence systems.
Russia has been helping Syrian forces in ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country.
The Russian military assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as Syrians continue to recapture key areas from Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist groups across the country with the backing of Russian air cover.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is looking for alternatives to the US Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets after Washington suspended Turkey’s membership in a joint production programme of the warplane.
The Turkish leader made the comment during a speech he delivered at the graduation ceremony of Milli Savunma University in Istanbul on Saturday, saying that the F-35 fighter jets are yet to be delivered to Turkey, even though the purchase had been completed.
‘We can’t wait to see what happens to us with our hands tied,’ Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency further quoted Erdogan as saying.
The administration of US President Donald Trump had threatened to expel Turkey from the F-35 fighter programme altogether if it acquired the S-400 missile systems from Russia. The US also halted any new training for Turkish pilots on the advanced aircraft.
Moscow and Ankara finalised an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.
Deliveries of the advanced system are set to continue until April 2020.
Turkey began receiving deliveries of the surface-to-air S-400 systems on June 12 and the deliveries are set to continue through April 2020. It received the second batch of the Russian air defence system on Tuesday.
Ankara later said Turkey would meet its defence needs elsewhere if Washington did not provide the country with the fifth-generation and multi-role combat aircraft.
Last week, the Turkish president vowed closer military cooperation with Moscow during a visit to Russia’s MASK air show. He also said Russian-made Sukhoi-35 and Sukhoi-57 could be alternatives to F-35 warplanes.
NATO says the S-400 could compromise its F-35 stealth fighter jets. Ankara rejects the claim.
The Turkish president has warned about an offensive in an area controlled by US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria.
Elsewhere in his speech, Erdogan warned that the Turkish army may launch a unilateral cross-border offensive into Syria ‘in weeks’ if Turkish troops do not control a ‘safe zone’ that Turkey and the US had agreed to set up.
Earlier this month, Ankara and Washington agreed for a safe zone in the northern part of Syria intended to manage tensions between Turkey and militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed Kurdish group in northern Syria, over the border in war-torn Arab country.
‘Turkey has no time and patience and it wants a safe zone to be built along the eastern Euphrates line, along Syria, as soon as possible,’ Erdogan said, adding: ‘Three weeks later, there is a last chance, when we are holding meetings in the US on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.’
The YPG plays as the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants.
Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist group and views it as the Syrian branch of Turkey’s homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist group that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside the Anatolian country since 1984.
Turkey expects the creation of a 32-kilometre (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.
The US-backed YPG acts as the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian government, however, has categorically rejected any deal between Turkey and the US on a buffer zone in northern Syria, describing it as a violation of its sovereignty.
Ankara has already launched two operations in northern Syria. The first offensive dubbed ‘Euphrates Shield’ began in August 2016 to stop the advance of Kurdish militia forces.
Then in January 2018, Turkish military forces launched another cross-border military operation inside Syria, code-named ‘Operation Olive Branch,’ with the declared aim of eliminating YPG militants from northern Syria, particularly the Afrin region.
- Emirati companies have flocked to the Damascus International Trade Fair, months after the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital.
Syria’s al-Watan newspaper reported that a delegation of about 40 businessmen from the UAE had arrived in Damascus on Tuesday to participate in the international fair.
A Syrian employee of an Emirati company said on Thursday that it was the first time his firm was participating in the exhibition.
‘We came with a high-level delegation from the Emirates led by the Emirati Federation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry,’ the employee said.
In December last year, the UAE officially reopened its embassy in Damascus, which had been closed soon after anti-government militancy began in Syria in 2011.
That militancy had been supported by many governments opposed to Damascus, including that of the UAE. Political winds shifted partly, however, as the Syrian military and its allies pushed back the militants from almost all of the areas they had overrun in the country.
According to Syria’s official news agency (SANA), some 1,700 companies from more than 30 countries are participating in this year’s trade fair, which kicked off on Wednesday and is set to come to an end today (September 6th).
This is while the United States has threatened sanctions against the firms attending the fair, which is part of Syrian efforts to rebuild the country after eight years of war.
At the opening of the fair on Wednesday, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis called the US threats part of an ‘agenda of sabotage and destruction’.