Five Drones Shot Down Near Russian Air Base, Syrian Media Says

Fifth such incident in as many days ■ Base functions as headquarters for Russia's military operations in the region

Syrian President Bashar Assad inspects the Russian Hemeimeem air base in the province of Latakia, Syria, June 27, 2017.

Five drones have been shot down in the coastal Latakia province as they approached a Russian air base in the area, Syrian state media reported Tuesday.

The air base, known as Hemeimeem, is the headquarters for Russia's military operations in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. Russia has been a major Assad ally and has turned the tide of the civil war in his favor.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says the drones were downed late on Monday. It says this is the fifth time in as many days that drones have been shot down as they tried to reach the air base.

The Observatory and Syrian state media say the drones were launched by rebels holding territory in neighboring Idlib province in northwestern Syria.