On 13 January 2018, the Russian Special Forces took out all members of the Jihadist group that carried out the group drone attack on the bases of Tartous and Hmeimim, in Syria [1].

The Russian counter attack took place in the village of Muwazarra, situated in the de-escalation zone of Idlib. It was here that the jihadists had chosen a site to assemble and stock their drones. This site was destroyed in the same operation.

Initially, the Russian President Vladamir Putin had tried to clear Turkey of any suspicion. President Putin held a press conference at which he confirmed that he had a long telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

President Putin indicated that the foreign power that organized the group drone attack against Russian military installations in Syria hoped to create friction between Russia and Turkey.

President Putin did not specify which foreign power he was alluding to.
A source close to the Russian enquiry takes the position that some indicators match those found when Ambassador Andreï Karlov was assassinated on 19 December 2016 in Ankara. This diplomat had been very close to President Putin. But this tie could not save him – he ended up being murdered by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş a policemen charged with protecting high-level personalities. This murder almost succeeded in launching a war between Turkey and Russia. The Russian investigators that had come on site, had finally discovered that the assassin, a young man, who had entered the police thanks to a political cleansing, had been trained by a foreign power.

Although the de-escalation zone of Idleb is under Turkish responsibility, the village of Muwazarra is controlled by Ahrar Al-Sham (the Islamic Movement of the Free People of Cham) —a proxy of the United Kingdom — and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (Organisation for the Liberation of the Levant) — a proxy of Qatar—.

Anoosha Boralessa

[1The first: attacks using groups of drones on the battlefield”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 10 January 2018.