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Reaper drone came ‘dangerously close’ to Russian Su-34 warplane – Moscow

The incident in Syrian airspace exemplified reckless flying by US-led forces, the military claims

Military aircraft operated by a US-led alliance have been responsible for multiple risky encounters with Russian forces in Syria, Moscow claimed on Tuesday.

In one incident over Homs province, an MQ-9 Reaper drone belonging flew dangerously close to a Su-34 strike aircraft, the Russian military mission in Syria said at a daily briefing.

“The Russian pilot demonstrated high professionalism and took necessary measures in time to avoid collision,” a military spokesman said.

The episode was one of nine violations of deconfliction protocols perpetrated by the “terrorist coalition” in just 24 hours, according to the statement. The protocols were signed in 2019 with a view to avoiding incidents. By failing to inform the Russian mission about its flight plans, the alliance “creates risks for air incidents and escalates the tensions in Syrian airspace.”

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Other cases involved F-15, F-16 and Rafale jets flown by coalition forces near Al-Tanf, the US base in southeastern Syria near the borders with Jordan and Iraq, the statement said.

The US military continues to operate the facility despite objections from Damascus regarding what Russia and several other nations consider a violation of Syrian sovereignty.

The Russian military was invited to Syria by its government in 2015 to help it deal with jihadist groups trying to topple it. Washington claims that its military presence is required to prevent Islamic State, a once-powerful terrorist organization, from resurging.

The report followed rumors circulating online, which claimed that the US had lost a Global Hawk surveillance drone over the Black Sea after an encounter with a Russian MiG-31 interceptor jet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about the speculations on Tuesday, and said the Russian government was not aware of any such incident.

June 26, 2024 at 03:52PM

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