Russia says it has downed 60 drones in Syria • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Russia says it has downed 60 drones in Syria

The Russian army has stated that it has so far this year downed nearly 60 drones deployed by insurgents in Syria against its Hmeimim air base, west of a bastion controlled by rebels and jihadists.

General Igor Konachenkov told journalists Friday that 58 drones and 27 missiles were intercepted by Russian forces at the base in the coastal province of Latakia, a Syrian government stronghold and heartland of President Bashar al-Assad´s clan.

“The system may seem rudimentary, but it can drop shells from a height of two kilometres”, Konachenkov said during a press trip organised by the Russian army in Syria.

Most of the attacks came from the towns of Khan Sheikhoun and Latamneh, both of which were recaptured in August by the Syrian army, which claims to have discovered drone-making workshops in large underground complexes.

But drones have also been launched from other areas of Idlib province, the last stronghold of insurgents in Syria where a fragile ceasefire deal reached last year between regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey was meant to prevent a bloodbath.

But an uptick since late April in bombardment of the insurgent-held region, which includes slivers of the adjacent Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces, has claimed a mounting death toll.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in those raids, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In Hmeimim, Russia uses Pantsir S1 and Tor-M2 air defence systems to intercept drones, along with state-of-the-art S-400 batteries. Older S-300 models are stationed at its naval base in Tartous, further south.

The insurgents are consistently improving their technology, according to the general, who claims rebel and jihadist drones can now reach targets 250 kilometres away and fly at an altitude of four kilometres, making them more difficult to detect.

On August 11, the Russian base repelled a coordinated attack involving six drones, according to the Russian military.

And on September 3, two drones allegedly attacked from different directions.

Syria´s conflict has killed more than 370,000 people and driven millions from their homes since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

A Syrian to sue Hungary over 2015 riot conviction: A Syrian man controversially jailed in Hungary for his role in a 2015 riot rejoined his family in Cyprus Saturday vowing to sue Budapest for wrongful conviction.

“I will take my case to the Hungarian Supreme Court to clear my name, and if necessary to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,” 42-year-old Ahmed Hamed told AFP from his home in Cyprus.

Hamed spent four years in detention after a conviction denounced by rights groups and the international community.

He was convicted of using a megaphone to orchestrate violence and throwing stones at Hungarian police to force them to open the border with Serbia in September 2015.

Hamed admitted throwing stones at police but denied being a terrorist. He said he used the megaphone to calm down the crowd.

The clashes took place during the peak of Europe´s migration crisis, a day after Prime Minister Viktor Orban´s hardline anti-immigration government sealed the frontier with a razor wire fence.

Hamed was initially jailed for 10 years under anti-terrorism laws, a sentence denounced by the US State Department, the European Parliament and rights groups as too severe. A Hungarian appeal court annulled the original 2016 conviction due to lack of evidence.

But after a retrial he was still ordered to serve two-thirds of a five-year jail term — including time served — and given a 10-year expulsion order from Hungary.

Conditionally released from prison in January, he was held for months as the Cypriot authorities considered his case. He previously lived in Cyprus for around a decade with his wife and two daughters, who are Cypriot nationals.

Amnesty International, who with Hungarian rights groups had denounced Hamed´s conviction as the product of a “show trial”, welcomed his return home in a statement Saturday.

Hamed “fell victim to Hungary´s draconian counter-terrorism law”, said the statement.

But Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs tweeted Saturday that Hamed was a “convicted leader of a violent mob of illegal immigrants that tried to storm” the border. “Hopefully, here ends the saga,” he added.

Source: Russia says it has downed 60 drones in Syria | World | thenews.com.pk | Lahore

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