After two years of Russian military support for the Assad government, Putin announced in mid-December the partial withdrawal of forces from the country, saying their task had been largely completed.
"All of the drones forced to land by our radio-electronic warfare means and the debris of the drones shot down have been collected and are being examined by the Russian Defense Ministry".
A Russian journalist posted photographs of damage that suggested at least some planes had been hit.
According to the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, extremists attacked the Russian airbase in Syria by launching 13 drones from a distance of 50 kilometers.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported later that regime forces had "opened a loophole" that led them into the base, and were now working on expanding it. They say the declaration by Putin could be aimed at the domestic audience in Russian Federation, as he is bidding for another presidential run in the country's upcoming elections in March. Syrian air defences intercepted one rocket, but several more hit "near a military position, causing material damage", it added.
It was also further noted that detonators used in the explosive attached to the drones were of foreign manufacture.
Cavusoglu also announced that Ankara would host a meeting on Syria with "like-minded countries" after a meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where Russian Federation is planning to host a Syrian "congress of national dialogue" on January 29-30.
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It's unknown who launched the swarm, with the attack being unclaimed at present.
It was the first time terrorists had used such sophisticated technology in the conflict, the ministry said, adding that the technical assessment showed that the drone could have been obtained only from a country possessing state-of-the-art technologies..
"It was the first time that terrorists massively used unmanned combat aerial vehicles of an aircraft type that were launched from a distance of more than 50 kilometres, and operated using Global Positioning System satellite navigation coordinates", the ministry said in a statement. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman. The attacks have been mostly ignored by the Western medial.
"Behind the attack there is, in my opinion, the" Islamic state.
While Russia didn't blame any particular country for the attack, however, latest comments and analysis points a veiled finger at Washington, which deflected any accusations well before any were made saying such technologies are openly available in the market.
Cavusoglu said 95 percent of the violations in Idlib were carried out by the government and groups backing the government.
The rebel groups responded to the Russian escalation with attacks on Russian targets in Syria, including Khmeimim air base.
Among the theories circulating widely is that disgruntled Alawites from Assad's own minority sect were responsible.
He said that the Syrian government forces were targeting the moderate opposition groups "on the pretext of fighting al-Nusra terrorist group". "This merely emphasizes the need for stepping up political settlement efforts", the spokesperson said.