Air base used by Russia in Syria suffers significant damage from ISIL attack

Satellite imagery appears to show extensive damage to an air base in Syria used by Russian forces following an attack by fighters from the Islamic State group, US intelligence company Stratfor said Tuesday.

The images suggest four helicopters and 20 lorries were destroyed by fire inside the T-4 base, which is also known as Tiyas and is strategically located in central Syria between war-ravaged Palmyra and Homs.

"The T4 air base was severely damaged by an Islamic State artillery attack. In particular, four Russian Mi-24 attack helicopters appear to have been destroyed," Stratfor said on their website.

Russia has not officially commented on the incident and the cause of the apparent damage could not be determined from the images obtained by Stratfor.

But the BBC quoted Stratfor analyst Sim Tack as saying that "this was not an accidental explosion".

It "would really be a marginal, almost non-existent chance for this to be accidental," he added.

Tack said there was evidence of "several different sources of explosions across the airport, and it shows that the Russians took a quite a bad hit".
That ISIL was able to get artillery in position for an attack demonstrates the tenuous hold the Assad regime has on the real estate around the base.  The Russians who have been supporting the regime forces are much more vulnerable than previously thought.

The BBC has before and after photos of the extensive damage.


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