Dozens killed as violence spikes near Damascus in Syria

Russian military jets are seen at Hmeymim air base in Syria

Russian military jets are seen at Hmeymim air base in Syria

The attack took place on December 31, 2017 at the Hmeymim air base, and if the reports are confirmed, it is being called Russia's single biggest loss of military hardware since the fall of 2015, when Russian Federation launched an airstrike in Syria.

At least four bombs flattened two buildings in the Eastern Ghouta town of Misraba, in an attack that killed around 20 and wounded more than 40 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and civil defense sources said. "The Russian air group in Syria is combat-ready and continues to fulfill all tasks of its intended objective in full", the ministry added.

Kommersant said at least four Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport plane, as well as an ammunition depot, were destroyed by the shelling, citing two "military-diplomatic" sources.

"On January 3, the Russian Defense Ministry said that on December 31 Russia's Mi-24 helicopter crashed due to a technical malfunction during a flight to Syria's Hama airfield".

Both pilots died in the crash.

Russia's Hmeimim air base is located in the western Syrian province of Latakia.

He stressed that the Russian General Staff and the Russian Defense Ministry had not managed to hide such large-scale losses. "Their task is to destabilize the situation".

The Observatory, a war monitor based in Britain, said 11 women and a child were among the dead in the strikes in Misraba, which it said were carried out by Russian planes.

Citing residents and witnesses, Reuters said that troops were preparing to attack the Military Vehicles Administration in the suburb of Harasta, where some 200 soldiers were believed to be trapped by rebels who widened their control of parts of the military installation on Sunday.

With the Russian president election to be held in March of 2018, the Kremlin is keen to keep Russian involvement in Syria at a minimum, especially in the domestic press.

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