Jul 17, 2017 08:05 UTC
  • Russia's embassy compound in Syria hit by mortar shells

The Russian embassy in Syria has been targeted by shelling from foreign-backed militants operating in the capital Damascus. 

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that two shells were fired at the diplomatic mission. One of the projectiles hit the embassy compound, while the other fell nearby.

Earlier this year, the Russian embassy compound in the Syrian capital was the target of a pair of mortar shelling launched “precisely” from the terrorists-controlled Jobar area, which lies a few kilometers northeast of Damascus.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the shell from the February 2 attack landed somewhere between the main office and the residential buildings and the projectile used in February 3 assault exploded around 20 meters from the main entrance to the embassy.

It added that the two attacks had no casualties but inflicted some material damage on the building.

Moscow launched its campaign against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists and other militant groups in Syria upon a request from Damascus in September 2015. Its airstrikes have helped Syrian forces carry out effective counterterrorism operations against foreign-backed militants operating in the country since 2011.

Hmeimim in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia serves as Russia’s permanent air base inside the war-ravaged country, and is adjacent to the Bassel al-Assad International Airport, with which it shares some airfield facilities.

Earlier this year, Damascus and Moscow signed a treaty to lease the base to Russian military forces for 49 years, extendable for an additional 25 years.

Russia also plans to upgrade its naval base in Tartus, the second largest port city in Syria, where Moscow has been keeping a support and maintenance facility for its naval forces since 1977.

Military sources said expansion of the naval base, located some 86 kilometers south of Hmeimim, would enable bigger vessels to call at the military site. Moscow is reportedly considering deployment of S-300 surface-to-air missile defense systems and Bastion coastal missile launchers there.

Separately, at least five civilians have sustained injuries when a car rigged with explosives went off in Syria’s militant-held northwestern city of Idlib.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the explosion took place in front of a clinic in the city, located roughly 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Damascus, on Sunday afternoon, noting that two children and a woman were among the victims.

Civil defense and ambulance teams quickly rushed to the scene, and extinguished the fire and provided assistance to the injured civilians.