The US is considering military action to counter increased Russian activity over Syria.
The US is considering military action in response to increased Russian aviation activity over Syria. According to a Pentagon spokesman, this Russian activity has complicated recent efforts to target the leader of the Islamic State group. The increased Russian military involvement is attributed to enhanced cooperation, coordination, planning, and intelligence sharing between Moscow, Tehran, and the Syrian government.
While the US does not believe that Russian aircraft intend to target American troops or manned aircraft, there are concerns that Russian pilots may shoot down Reaper drones. The US is worried that Moscow perceives such actions as unlikely to provoke a significant military response from the United States.
According to Oleg Gurinov, deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, there have been 1,602 recorded violations of Syrian airspace by the US coalition in the Et-Tanf region during the first half of 2023, as reported by Interfax.
In July, the US released video footage alleging that Russian Su-35 jets had “harassed” its MQ-9 Reaper drones in Syrian airspace. Moscow claimed to have intercepted American drones for violating airspace during exercises, and a similar incident involving F-16s occurred shortly after.
Since the beginning of this month, Russia and Syria have been conducting exercises aimed at securing Syrian airspace due to unauthorized overflights by US and coalition aircraft, without the permission of the Damascus regime.