A Russian An-26 military transport plane had to dodge two United States combat drones over northern Syria while performing a resupply mission, Deputy Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria Major General Oleg Yegorov revealed on October 4.
The commander told reporters that the U.S.-led coalition keep sending full-armed combat drones to conduct unauthorized flights in the Syrian airspace.
“At 07:25 Moscow time on October 3, an An-26 plane of the military-transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces, performing a resupply flight for Russian military units, had to dodge a collision with U.S.-made MQ-9 and MQ-1 unmanned aerial vehicles that followed its route in the north of Syria,” he said.
Yegorov added that the incident was the latest in a string of U.S. violations of the 20 October 2015 agreement on preventing air incidents and ensuring flight safety over Syria.
The U.S. violations in the Syrian airspace were not directed against Russian planes only, but also against Iranian and even Syrian aircraft.
In 2020, an Iranian civil airplane from Mahan Air was flying to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, when it was harassed by two U.S. fighter jets over Syria’s Damascus. The fighter jets conducted unprofessional maneuvers which endangered the airplane and its passengers. Following the incident, Al-Monitor revealed that two years earlier, in 2018, a Syrian Cham Wings civil airplane had a near-miss with a U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone over al-Tanf near Damascus.
It remains unclear if these incidents were deliberate harassment by the U.S.-led coalition, or simply the result of a lack of professionalism. U.S. operations in Syria, which are allegedly meant to counter ISIS, are widely considered illegal as they are not approved by the legitimate government in Damascus.
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