Russian warplanes took off from Hmeimim airbase in western Syria and intercepted an Israeli spy plane, which was escorted by several fighter jets, off the coast of Lebanon in the morning of December 30, according to Syrian pro-government activists.
Observers confirmed that a Gulfstream G550 Nahshon-Shavit signal intelligence (SIGINT) plane of the Israeli Air force (IAF) was carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the international waters off the shores of Syria and Lebanon at the morning. Furthermore, a local source in the Syrian city of Tartus told SouthFront that Russian warplanes were seen heading towards Lebanese coast.
41,000ft watching over the eastern Med
— CivMilAir ✈? (@CivMilAir) December 30, 2018
Israel and Russia have not confirmed the encounter so far. Some experts also doubted that Russian warplanes were on their way to intercept the Israeli SIGINT plane.
This was not the first time when news about Russia intercepted Israeli warplane near Lebanon appeared online. Last May, several reports said that a Russian Su-34 warplane intercepted Israeli F-16s over northern Lebanon. Back then, local activists released a video showing the Su-30 over the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia threatened to jam any unfriendly aerial object that would approach Syrian coast following the downing of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane in September. However, it remains unknown if the Russian Aerospace Forces intercept Israeli military planes near the coast.