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Russia sends helicopters, fighter jets to its base in northeastern Syria

This file picture shows Russian Su-30 fighter jets at the Hmeimim airbase near Syria's western coastal city of Latakia. (Photo by RIA Novosti news agency)

Russia has dispatched attack helicopters and fighter jets to its base in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah upon a request from the Damascus government.

The decision comes only days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow’s determination to support Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, citing informed sources, reported that Russia sent the reinforcement to its airbase near the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli as part of an ongoing military buildup.

“The presence of Russian forces in Syria is in full compliance with the UN Charter and principles. They perform duties outlined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254,” Lavrov told Russia’s RT television news network in an interview on Thursday.

The Russia foreign minister added that the crisis in Syria can only be resolved through respect for the Arab nation’s sovereignty and regional safety.

“We will support the Syrian leadership in its efforts to restore the territorial integrity of the Arab republic,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia launched its airstrikes against Takfiri terrorists in Syria at the request of the Damascus government. Moscow says its air raids are meant to weaken Daesh and other terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Syrian army intercepts, downs militant drone over Idlib

Meanwhile, the Syrian military has intercepted and shot down a reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle operated by Turkish-backed Takfiri militants over the country’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that an army unit struck the drone as it was flying in the skies over Maarrat Dibsah village on Friday evening.

The report added that the unmanned aerial vehicle had three cameras mounted on and was armed with several missiles.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push Kurdish militants from the US-backed People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces.

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