The Syrian regime said on Saturday its air defenses foiled a drone attack by “terrorist” groups on a main military base in northwestern Syria, where a Russian-brokered ceasefire has stopped months of fighting.
The three drones, which were carrying explosives, were shot down on Friday and destroyed without causing any losses, the regime said in a statement reported on Syrian state media.
The Idlib region saw a lull in air raids that have been pounding opposition-held territory after Russia’s defense ministry announced on August 30 that regime forces would unilaterally cease fire in an “de-escalation zone” brokered two year ago.
The Russian defense ministry, which urged opposition factions to join the truce, has long said along with its ally they were targeting al-Qaeda inspired militants and responding to attacks.
Moscow’s deployment of more special forces before the ceasefire succeeded in shrinking opposition-held territory after months of stalemate on the frontlines, where the opposition had earlier been holding back the regime from major advances, Western intelligence sources said.
The opposition says although the heavy airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets have stopped since the ceasefire, heavy shelling on villages and towns continue to force thousands of civilians to leave to the safety of areas closer to the Turkish border.
They also say Russian special forces and Iranian-backed militias fighting alongside the regime have breached the ceasefire by launching several major attempts to storm opposition-held areas in recent days that have so far been repelled.