ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – At least seven Russian planes were destroyed by anti-regime rebels who shelled the Khmeimim air base in Syria before the New Year, according to Russian media.
Russian daily Kommersant on Wednesday revealed that it was Russia’s “biggest loss” of military hardware since the Kremlin began its air campaign supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2015.
The report claimed more than ten servicemen were wounded in the attack launched by “radical Islamists.”
“At least four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters, and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by the shelling,” military and diplomatic sources allegedly revealed to Kommersant.
The Russian defense ministry has yet to comment on the report.
On Wednesday, however, the ministry acknowledged a Mi-24 helicopter had crash-landed in Syria due to a technical issue. The two pilots were killed in the crash.
Russia keeps a large number of troops and advisers present as they continue to help Assad recapture territory lost to anti-government rebels and the Islamic State (IS).
Russia's Khmeimim air base is located in Syria's Latakia province, which the Kremlin turned into a strategic center for its military operations in the embattled country, establishing a permanent presence despite claiming IS had been defeated.