Russia has sent unmanned drones over Syria on top of the 28 fighter jets already deployed to conduct attacks against the ISIS in the region. While the Russian government upholds that its military activities in Syria are for defense purposes, it neglects the possibility of miscalculations with planes being flown by U.S.-led coalition also conducting airstrikes against the ISIS.
An unnamed U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Russia is now flying unmanned drones in Syria in addition to fighter jets, tanks and other heavy military equipment already deployed in the past weeks. According to the unnamed source, Russia sent in the drones with additional “couple dozen” fighter jets.
Fox News tallied that Russia now has 24 attack aircraft that include Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” and Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer” supersonic attack aircraft. These are all on top of the already reported four Su-27s, nine t-90 and numerous SA-22 surface-to-air missiles revealed by satellite images taken over Bassel al-Assad airbase in Syria.
“This is a significant upgrade to Russia’s ability to carry out bombing missions inside Syria,” the U.S. official told Fox News.
A separate report from Reuters also confirmed Russia’s deployment of unmanned drones in Syria. The report stressed that such drones undermined the danger of a possible collision with the planes sent by US-led coalition in the region. According to Reuters, Russia conducted its military operations against the ISIS without proper coordination with the US coalition.
The U.S. government refused to confirm reports of Russian drones and fighter jets in Syria. Spokesperson John Kirby stressed that the government continue to see military activities by Russia in Syria. “As the Secretary said over the weekend, the intent of which is not – still not completely clear. What he has also said is if Russia looks to play a constructive role against ISIL, that’s one thing, but if what they’re doing is, in fact, propping up the Assad regime, then that’s an entirely different issue altogether, because it is the Assad regime that has been a magnet for extremists inside Syria,” Kirby told press.
Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached deal to avoid accidentally exchanging fire in Syria. “In this situation, I thought it very important to come here to clarify our position and do everything possible to ensure that no misunderstandings arise between our forces and Russia’s forces in the region,” Mr. Netanyahu told his counterpart. Mr. Putin gave his assurance that misunderstanding will not happen, adding that “Russia has always been very responsible in its actions in the region and will continue to be so.