US denies aiding drone attack on Russian bases

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

The Pentagon has denied any involvement in a recent series of drone attacks on Russian bases in Syria after Russia’s Defense Ministry hinted that the U.S. military may have aided the attackers.

Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that “any suggestion that U.S. or coalition forces played a role in an attack on a Russian base is without any basis in fact and is utterly irresponsible.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry earlier said the attacks would have required assistance from a country possessing satellite navigation technology. It noted a “strange coincidence” of a U.S. military intelligence plane flying over the Mediterranean near the two bases at the moment of the attack.

The ministry said its forces repelled a series of drone attacks Saturday on the Hemeimeem air base and a naval facility in Tartus. It said that out of the 13 drones involved, seven were shot down and six were forced to land without inflicting any damage.

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9:15 p.m.

A Turkish government official says Turkey has summoned the ambassadors of Russia and Iran to complain about recent Syrian government advances.

The official said Turkey conveyed its concerns Tuesday over the advances in northern Syria, which it says are in violation of a “de-escalation” agreement in Idlib province reached by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran.

The ambassadors were asked to relay to Syria’s government that the violation must end immediately. The official provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Syrian government forces of attacking moderate opposition fighters under the guise of fighting extremists and said the move threatened peace talks scheduled in Russia later this month.

Turkey, Russia and Iran have taken the lead in Syria peace efforts over the past year. But while Turkey backs the opposition, Russia and Iran support Syrian President Bashar Assad.

— Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey

6:15 p.m.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says a recent series of drone attacks on its military bases in Syria would have required assistance from a country possessing satellite navigation technology.

The ministry said its forces repelled a series of drone attacks Saturday on the Hemeimeem air base and a naval facility in Tartus. It said that out of the 13 drones involved, seven were shot down and six were forced to land without inflicting…

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