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Russia shoots down 'unknown drone' in Syria: Report

Unidentified drone had veered close to Russian air base in Syria
Britain-based war monitoring group said explosions were heard near the base (AFP)

Russia has shot down an "unknown drone" that veered too close to Hmeimim air base in Syria, Russia's RIA news agency said on Monday, citing its defence ministry.

"There are neither casualties nor physical damage. Russia's Hmeimim air base is operating as normal," it said.

The UK-based war monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said explosions had been heard near the base and appeared to have come from Russian air defences confronting an attack.

RIA's report did not disclose any more details. It remains unknown whether this drone belonged to the US, Israel or some other entity.

Nearly every foreign power involved in Syria's conflict have used the country's airspace for their own strategic interests.

In April, US officials said that American military operations in Syria have been hampered by Russia's ability to jam US drones' GPS systems. And in February, Israel said Iran launched a drone from Syrian airspace in an attempt to launch an attack inside its territory, according to a New York Times report. 

Last year, a top Israeli general told Haaretz that Israel has conducted nearly 100 strikes on Hezbollah convoys in Syria.

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