The Pentagon has announced a new major incident involving Russia over the skies of Syria, after a string of hostile close encounters between Russian fighter jets and US drones which were ostensibly conducting ‘counter-ISIS’ missions.
The military says a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was damaged after being intercepted and harassed by an Su-35 fighter, during which time the Russian warplane released flares close to the American drone.
Only unveiled Tuesday, which included release of video of the incident, the encounter happened Sunday, presumably over or near eastern Syria, where Washington has for years maintained a troop presence, and has occupied Syria’s oil and gas fields.
US officials say a Russian and Iranian campaign is in full swing towards pressuring the US to retreat from the region and halt its military operations. Russian intercepts of US drones have now occurred several times over the last months, with the US each time condemning “unsafe” and “irresponsible”, threatening maneuvers.
Concerning the new incident, “The U.S. drone managed to limp back to its base in the region but its propeller was damaged, according to U.S. officials who issued photos and video of the encounter,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The military statement described the drone as “severely damaged”—which is a significant first in Syria….