Russia on Wednesday flew down 50 journalists from 12 countries to its airbase in Latakia, Syria, from where its air force is carrying out the bombing missions against the Islamic State (Isis) and other terrorist groups in the country.
The Russian Defence Ministry announced on its official Twitter account that the 50 foreign journalists were "familiarised" with the missions being flown by its pilots in Syria.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov told TASS it was not the first group of "foreign journalists" to have visited the Hmeymim air base near Syria's Latakia.
"It is not the first group of foreign journalists that we brought to the Hmeymim airbase. Today we brought [reporters from] 12 countries - from America, Europe and Asia," he said.
The journalists reportedly were briefed by Russian pilots on their combat roles and sorties conducted in the region, Konashenkov added. The videos of bombing missions taken by the drones were also shared with the journalists, he said.
The large Russian base in Syria in the coastal town of Latakia is protected by S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. Besides that several Mi-24 attack helicopters also patrol the perimeters to protect dozen of warplanes — Su-25s and Su-30s during take-off and landing.
In October, reports had said that Russia had flown some of the Moscow-based reporters into Syria. However, it is not known if there were any other foreign journalists among the group.
Since 30 September, Russia has been conducting daily airstrikes in Syria, mainly targeting Isis and other extremists groups.
However, United States and its allies have been critical of the Russian intervension in Syria as they allege that Russia is helping Syrian President Bashar al Assad and is targetting those opposing him.