US-led coalition UAV had close encounter with Russian jet in Syria
The Russian armed forces had a close encounter with a drone operated by the US-led coalition occupying Syria.
An MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operated by the US-led coalition had a close encounter with a Su-34 aircraft belonging to the Russian aerospace forces over the skies of Syria's Raqqa province, Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, the deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria told a briefing on Friday.
According to Rear Admiral Gurinov, the encounter took place on July 28 at 07:55 local time (04:55 GMT) at an altitude of approximately 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). The US-led coalition's UAV and the Russian Su-34 came dangerously close to each other, raising concerns about potential collisions and the lack of proper deconfliction protocols.
"On July 28 at 07:55 at an altitude of 5000 meters... in the province of Raqqah, a close encounter of the unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-9 of the US-led coalition with the Su-34 aircraft of the Russian aerospace forces was once again registered," Gurinov said.
"The flight of the coalition's unmanned aerial vehicle in this area was not deconflicted again. The Russian pilots, demonstrating high professionalism, took the necessary measures in a timely manner to prevent a collision with the coalition's UAV," Gurinov said.
Despite this incident, no actual physical contact occurred between the two aircraft.
Gurinov said that means of electronic warfare were used against Russia's Orlan-10 UAV in Syria, but experts managed to successfully return it to its base.
"On July 27, at 10:20 [local time, 7:20 GMT] in the area of the settlement of Al-Ankawi in the province of Hama, the Russian unmanned aerial vehicle Orlan-10 was exposed to the means of radio-electronic warfare on its control channels, after which an attempt was made to change its navigation field. Thanks to the professional actions of Russian military specialists the unmanned aerial vehicle was successfully returned to its base."
Russia, however, voiced its concern over what they perceive as provocative actions by the US-led coalition concerning Russian aerospace forces' drones in Syria. The lack of adherence to deconfliction protocols by the US-led coalition occupying Syria has become a point of concern for Russian officials.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation earlier in July that the US-led coalition led by the United States had breached deconfliction protocols 12 times within the past 24 hours.
Gurinov disclosed during a briefing: highlighting instances of uncoordinated flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the so-called "international anti-terrorist coalition."
According to Gurinov, the unauthorized flights of UAVs by the coalition disregarded the deconfliction protocols established on December 9, 2019. The breach of these protocols raises concerns about the safety and security of operations in Syrian airspace.
Specifically, two F-16 fighter jets and an MC-12W reconnaissance jet were reported to have violated airspace in the Al-Tanf area, which serves as a crucial passage for international air routes.
The US-backed forces are currently occupying parts of the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, and Raqqa, where the largest Syrian oil and gas fields are located.
The actions carried out by the United States constitute state piracy with the aim of plundering Syria's oil resources and depriving the Syrians of their own resources amid a harsh economic situation caused largely by the US occupiers.
Even earlier in July, Gorinov reported that the memorandum of understanding between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense, dated October 20, 2015, and related to unmanned aircraft flight in Syrian airspace, was violated 14 times by the US during the joint exercises.
He highlighted that there was no coordination between him and the so-called "international anti-terrorism coalition" led by the United States and that the Russian side is not responsible for the safety of the uncoordinated flights of the drones.
Gorinov's statement came after a statement by the US Air Force reported that Russian planes had engaged in "unsafe and unprofessional behavior" while participating in a mission against ISIS in Syrian airspace.