On New Year's Eve jihadists launch a surprise mortar attack on Kheimmim air base outside Latakia, taking advantage of Russian servicemen's festive holiday mood. No group has claimed responsibility or released video footage of the attack, likely launched using 'shoot and scoot' tactics from a mortar mounted on a pickup truck to avoid counter-mortar fire. Nonetheless, a follow on attack on the base timed for Saturday's Orthodox Christmas eve a week later using multiple armed mini-drones that were shot down by Pantsirs or other base air defenses strongly suggests state sponsorship and intelligence support for the attacks.
At least two Russian servicemen are reportedly dead from the initial mortar assault and multiple aircraft were said to be damaged -- though only pictures of a SU24 bomber number 29 (filmed previously operating at the base by RT camera crews) have emerged on the Russian social media network VKontakte (see above). The damage irreparable or not to six Su-24s; one Su-35S; one An-72; one An-30 spy plane; and one Mi-8 helicopter the BBC claimed, citing Russian journalist Roman Saponkov's VK post, could not be confirmed.Read More