On November 18, an Il-20 reconnaissance plane and several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted multiple sorties over radical militants positions in the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib, according to Syrian opposition sources.
The Il-20 is a signal and electronic intelligence plane, that is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capable of taking radar images. Electro-optical systems were also installed in some planes of this type. The main task of the Il-20 is spying on the enemy’s communication and identifying its positions.
Local observers said that this number of sorties is unusual, as Russia has stepped down its aerial operations over Idlib after reaching the deconfliction agreement with Turkey. According to them, the reconnaissance sorties may be a part of ongoing preparations to resume military operations in the militant-held governorate.
Two days ago, Syrian and Lebanese sources reported that the SAA and its allies may soon launch a limited military operation around Idlib. According to the sources, the supposed operation will be a response to the repeated violation of the deconfliction agreement.