A senior Russian military official at the Syrian reconciliation center accused the US-led coalition on Sunday of flying its drones dangerously close to Russian fighter jets over Syria.
The US-led coalition’s fighter jets and drones violated Syria’s airspace 16 times during the past day, Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria (a division of the Russian defense ministry), said on Sunday.
“Three pairs of the coalition’s F-16 and four pairs of F-35 fighter jets, as well as two MQ-1C multi-role unmanned aerial vehicles, violated Syria’s airspace in the al-Tanf area, across which international air routes run, 16 times during the day,” he said, TASS reported.
Apart from that, according to Kulit, a coalition’s MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle once again dangerously approached a Russian Su-35 fighter jet to a distance of at least 500 meters in midair near the city of Raqqa on Friday. On the same day, two MQ-9 drones dangerously approached a Russian Su-35 plane.
He also said that 14 violations of the deconfliction protocols of December 9, 2019, linked with the flights by the coalition drones were reported in Syria in the past 24 hours.
“Notably, the flights of the coalition’s unmanned aerial vehicles in these areas were not deconflicted,” Kulit stressed, adding that Russian pilots demonstrated high professionalism and took timely measures to prevent collisions with the drones.