US MQ-9 Reaper combat drones are flying over Syria’s central region where Syrian government forces have been combating ISIS with support from the Russian Aerospace Forces, RusVesna.SU reported on July 27.
According to the Russian news outlet, US combat drones are flying over the region, in violation of the deconfliction mechanism with Russia, in order to carry out suspicious intelligence activities. The outlet shared a video showing one of the drones armed with what appears to be GBU-38 JDAM guided bombs.
One of the drones were spotted right over the Homs desert, the main stronghold of ISIS in central Syria. Hundreds of terrorists are reportedly taking shelter there.
The drones are likely monitoring the ongoing operations by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies against ISIS cells in the region. RusVesna speculated that the US military may be providing the terrorists with advance warning.
Under the agreed upon deconfliction mechanism in Syria, US warplanes are not allowed to fly over government-held parts of the country.
Even before the beginning of Russian counter-terrorism operations in Syria, Damascus showed resolve in dealing with US attempts to “stretch” its aerial operations over the country. On March 17 of 2015, a US MQ-1 Predator combat drone was shot down by the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces while it was on an intelligence mission near the coastal Syrian city of Lattakia.
Damascus may use force to keep US combat drones off Syria’s central region, especially if they are indeed carrying out malicious activities.
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