Russia’s Defence Ministry has issued a statement in which claims to have completely eliminated the Jihadi group which carried out the drone attack on Russia’s Syrian bases in Khmeimim and Tartus on 6th January 2018.
The Defence Ministry’s report reads in part as follows
When the terrorists arrived at the facility where they were to board a minibus, the whole subversive group was eliminated by the Krasnopol high-precision munition…..The Russian military reconnaissance has uncovered a terrorist fixed-wing drone assembly and storage place in the province of Idlib. The depot has been destroyed by the Krasnopol precision artillery munition
According to the official Russian news agency TASS “….all manpower and materiel of Russia’s multilevel military intelligence system in Syria had been involved in the operation”.
The Krasnopol shell is a laser guided 152 mm or 120 mm shell launched by 2S3 Akatsiya or 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled 152 mm artillery systems, or by the 2S9 NONA self-propelled 120 mm mortar system. It is the Russian equivalent to the similarly laser guided US M712 Copperhead shell.
The launch site and assembly areas from where the drone attacks on the Russian bases were prepared and launched are known to be some distance from the Russian bases in Khmeimim and Tartus.
That makes it likely that the Krasnopol shells used in the attack on the Jihadis were launched by the longer range 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled gun, which the Russians are known to have deployed in Syria.
The fact that Krasnopol shells depend on laser guidance suggests either that drones were used to guide the shells, or that a Russian special forces infiltration group was inserted into the area and tracked the Jihadis’ movements. TASS’s claim that “all the manpower and materiel of Russia’s multilevel military intelligence system in Syria was involved in the operation” points to the latter.
If so then presumably then the special forces infiltration group was inserted by night and by helicopter and has now been evacuated, probably in the same way.