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Russia’s defence minister meets Assad as rocket attack kills 4 civilians in Syria

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DAMASCUS: Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited Syria for talks with President Bashar al-Assad and to inspect a Russian airbase in the war-torn country, his ministry said.

The trip comes as the Russian military deployed long-range nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets carrying state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to its airbase in Syria for massive naval drills in the region.

During a meeting in Damascus on Tuesday, Shoigu “informed the Syrian president about the exercises of the Russian navy in the eastern Mediterranean”, Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.

The two discussed “military-technical cooperation as part of the joint fight” against international “terrorism” and Russian humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria “suffering from the prohibitive sanctions of the United States and Western countries”.

The statement said Shoigu also inspected Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in western Syria, which has served as Russia’s main outpost in the Middle Eastern country. Moscow has also expanded and modified a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, the only such facility that Russia has outside the former Soviet Union.

It wasn’t clear from the statement precisely when the meeting took place.

The Defence Ministry said the exercise in the eastern Mediterranean that involves 15 warships and about 30 aircraft is part of a series of sweeping naval drills that started last month amid the standoff over Ukraine. It said the manoeuvers were intended to train for action to “protect national interests” and “fend off military threats against the Russian Federation”.

Meanwhile four more civilians killed while 12 others injured in north western Syrian town of Azaz due to a rocket attack by the YPG/PKK terrorist group on late Tuesday night.

According to initial reports, opposition-held town of Azaz, which was the target of rockets fired from the nearby city of Tal Rifaat.

The injured were transferred to a nearby hospital amid fears that the number of casualties could rise.

Opposition forces responded to the attack with artillery fire on the terror group’s…

Earlier, nine civilians were killed and 30 others injured in a rocket attack carried out by the YPG/PKK terrorist group on Al-Bab district in north western Syria on February 2nd,

During its over 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

The terror group is listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and EU.

The YPG terror group is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot but has been supported by the US under the guise of fighting Daesh.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents.

Operation Euphrates Shield was conducted in 2016, Olive Branch in 2018, and Peace Spring in 2019.

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