Russian forces in Syria able to repel militants' attacks

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"As evening fell, the Russia air defence forces detected 13 unidentified small-size air targets at a significant distance approaching the Russian military bases", the Ministry said in a statement.

It added Russian forces fended off the attacks without receiving any damage.

The Hmeimim attacks coincide with an escalation of fighting in Idlib, with a new offensive that was launched by the Syrian government, backed by Russian Federation, now underway.

The latest and most unusual of the incidents saw 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) packed with explosives descend on Khmeimim air base, Russia's vast military headquarters in northwestern Latakia province. "So they are damned to a consensus", Malashenko, one of the leading Russian experts on the Middle East, told AFP.

Russian Federation has been in the region since 2015 to bolster Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as he attempts to maintain power in the face of a bitterly contested civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and left millions displaced.

Putin's pledge to withdraw Russian troops after the alleged defeat of IS in Syria came as the Russian military augmented its operations in support of the Syrian government forces, consolidating their control over rebel enclaves in the country.

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In addition, it is always easy to blame the United States for any misadventures the Russian military may encounter, and most of the public will believe it.

The Russian defence ministry's newspaper said on Wednesday the drones had been launched from the south-western part of theIdlib de-escalation zone held by "moderate opposition" armed groups. Multiple media reports indicated that the air base in Latikia had been targeted at least twice since last month.

Muwazarra has been on the front line of the war between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the earliest days of the war, when the region quickly came under the control of USA -allied moderate rebels with the Syrian Revolutionary Forces.

The daring use of short-range mortars also pointed to the inability of Syrian forces to protect the Alawite heartland from hit-and-run raids by the rebels.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says the Sochi gathering is part of an effort to resolve Syria's almost seven-year war on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and encourage direct talks in Geneva between Syrian government representatives and moderate Syrian "opposition" delegates.