‘Too many aircraft in Syrian airspace’: MoD posts video with Russian jet approaching drone

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Syria’s airspace has been a bit overcrowded as of late, the Russian military hinted in a comment on a video of their jet in a close encounter with an unidentified drone. Over 30 planes or drones can sometimes be in one area at the same time, the MoD said.

The presence of various aircraft – including military cargo planes, warplanes, UAVs, and strike drones – has recently been on the rise in Syrian airspace, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in statement on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Defense posted a video of an unidentified drone said to be flying over Syria. The UAV was apparently caught on camera from the cockpit of a Russian jet.

While Moscow coordinates its flights with Damascus, “the rest of the manned and unmanned military aircraft are [flying] in Syrian airspace without coordination and with turned off transponders,” Konashenkov said, adding that “unfortunately, our American colleagues do not seem to grasp the seriousness of this issue.”

From time to time there are over 30 aircraft in one area which, “of course, creates risks to the aviation in the Syrian airspace,” he explained.

Earlier in October, US military spokesperson Naval Captain Jeff Davis was cited by AP as saying that at least one American military aircraft had been forced to divert its route while flying over Syria in order to avoid making contact with a Russian warplane.

Unconfirmed American media reports have also claimed that Russian fighter jets have “intercepted” US MQ-1 Predator drones in Syrian airspace. Details, however, suggested that the drones’ flight paths had not been hampered, despite close fly-bys.

On Tuesday, Russia and the US reached an agreement aimed at regulating the operations of both countries’ Air Forces in Syria.