Russia-Syria Perform Drills to 'Control Syrian Airspace' Amidst U.S. Drone Flights

  • Bureau
  • 10:01 AM, July 7, 2023
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Russia-Syria Perform Drills to 'Control Syrian Airspace' Amidst U.S. Drone Flights
Russia-Syria air drills @Russia MoD

Even as Russia and the U.S. are trading charges over ‘dangerous maneuvers’ in the skies over Syria, it has not transpired that Russian and Syrian Air Forces are conducting drills to control Syrian air space.

Currently, the skies over Syria is a free-for-all with American, Russian and Israeli air forces operating without informing the Syrian authorities who have sovereignty over their country’s air space.

“Russian Aerospace Forces along with Syrian Air Force undergo first stage of joint drills. Servicemen of the two countries perform tasks on controlling airspace of the Syrian Arab Republic. Effectiveness of air defence system of the Russian Group of Forces in Syria is to be inspected…. Electronic warfare units will also join the drills to perform combined actions on repelling mock enemy airstrikes,” Russian Ministry of Defense said in a release.

The drills that started on Thursday will last until mid-July.

While not acknowledging the Russia-Syria exercise, a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) statement said Thursday, “Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior Thursday, 9:30 A.M. local time, while interacting with U.S. MQ-9 drones carrying out our D-ISIS mission in Syria. Russian aircraft dropped flares in front of the drones and flew dangerously close, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved.”

The close ties between Syria and Russia deepened significantly in 2015 when President Bashar al-Assad requested military assistance from the Kremlin to push back against ISIS and other extremist groups.

In an interview conducted during his visit to Russia in March, Assad said that he would welcome a permanent Russian military presence in Syria.

“Combating terrorism is an existing matter, but it will be temporary, and the Russian military presence in any country cannot be built on something temporaryWe believe that if Russia has the desire to expand the bases or increase their number, then this is a technical or logistical issue. If there is such a desire, then we believe that the expansion of the Russian presence in Syria is good,” the Syrian President said at the time.

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