MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. The anti-aircraft defense of the Russian airbase Hmeymim in Syria shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launched from the area controlled by militants in the Latakia province in early hours of July 21, Major General Alexei Tsygankov, the head of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Saturday.
"Early on [Saturday] July 21, the airspace control means of the Russian air base Hmeymim spotted an UAV launched from the area controlled by illegal armed groups in the north of Latakia province," Tsygankov said. "Regular anti-aircraft weapons shot down the target away from the airbase. There were neither casualties nor damage. The Russian airbase Hmeymim is operating in a scheduled mode."
According to Tsygankov, illegal armed groups keep violating the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Government positions and residential areas located nearby the line of disengagement in the provinces of Latakia, Aleppo and Hama come under mortar and artillery fire every day.
The negotiations organized by the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides are ongoing with elders of populated localities and leaders of illegal armed groups in the southwest de-escalation zone.
"As a result of the talks, three tanks, one anti-aircraft mount, four mortar guns, one howitzer, four large-caliber machine guns and a large amount of various ammunition have been handed over in the past 24 hours," the general said.
Civilians keep fleeing the areas controlled by militants via safe exits. They are provided with hot meals, daily necessities and first aid.
Over the past 24 hours, 302 people passed through the Kafer Shams checkpoint.
As many as 72,935 Syrians have already returned to Eastern Ghouta from camps for refugees and temporarily displaced persons. In the past 24 hours, 105 people came back to their homes.
Russian military medics provided medical services to seven adults and six children.
The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.