On March 26, two US spy plans were spotted flying over government-held areas in the southern countryside of Syria’s Deir Ezzor.
The two planes, a Beechcraft MC-12W Liberty and a Beechcraft Super King Air 350, were tracked by aviation observers as they circled over the town of al-Bukamal right on the border between Syria and Iraq.
Two usaf ISR platforms now over Syria-Iraq al-Bukamal border crossing used for Iranian arms/forces transfer pic.twitter.com/rzvdomRV1D
— avi scharf (@avischarf) March 26, 2021
The MC-12W is a version of the C-12 Huron that was modified for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) role for the US Air Force. Several copies of the Super King Air 350 were also modified to carry out ISR and signal intelligence missions for the US army.
The planes were likely spying on Iranian forces which maintain a strong presence in al-Bukamal and nearby areas in order to counter ISIS cells.
US-led coalition planes fly over northeastern Syria, where the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are in control, on a daily basis. This is however the first time when US spy planes were spotted flying over the government-held part of Deir Ezzor.
Last month, the US carried out a series of strikes on positions of Iranian-backed Iraqi forces in al-Bukamal in repose to a rocket attack on its troops in Erbil Airport. At least one fighter of Kata’ib Hezbollah was killed in the strikes.
The US military may be preparing to carry out a new wave of strikes on Iranian-backed forces in Syria. This would lead to more escalation between Washington and Tehran.
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