US Spy Plane Targeted by Russia over Syrian Waters

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian and Arab media sources reported that the Russian anti-aircraft missile units have targeted a US reconnaissance plane over Eastern Mediterranean Sea, but no official source has confirmed the report yet.

Social media activists in Tartus port city reported that the Russian anti-aircraft missile units opened fire at a US spying plane in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday.

As the Russian missile units started anti-air operation, unconfirmed reports said that the Russian missiles targeted a RQ 4 Global Hawk drone of the US army.

The Mirnov’vestiyeh daily reported that the US possibly planned to gather intel on the Russian anti-aircraft system in Tartus port and Humeimim base by using RQ 4 Global Hawk drone that is an expensive spying plan.

The daily added that it is very strange that news went viral about the missing of a similar drone over California on Thursday morning.

A NATO F-16 fighter jet tried to approach the Russian defense minister’s plane above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea On Wednesday.

The plane was warded off by a Russian Su-27 escorting the minister’s aircraft, according to journalists who were on board.

The Russian plane was en route to the city of Kaliningrad, a Western Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday, RT reported.

While one NATO aircraft tried to approach the Russian airplane, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet got in its way and tilted its wings, apparently showing its arms, according to RIA Novosti and TASS journalists who were on board. The F-16 then flew away.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he has no information about the incident.

“It’s probably better to ask the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said in answer to journalists’ questions.

On Monday a US RC-135 spy plane flying toward the Russian border made a “provocative turn” toward a Baltic Fleet Su-27, which had been scrambled for an interception mission.

The encounters of Russian and US warplanes over the Baltic Sea waters have apparently become more frequent lately. A Russian fighter jet intercepted a small group of US warplanes, including Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military refueling aircraft, two B-1 bombers and one B-52, during the BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) annual training exercise on June 10.

Earlier in June, the Russian military intercepted another B-52 bomber in the same area, and escorted by an Su-27 fighter away from Russian territory.

US Spy Plane Spotted Flying over Russian Fleet in Syrian Waters

TEHRAN (FNA)- A US Navy reconnaissance plane was spotted flying over the Russian fleet in Eastern Mediterranean Sea where the warships recently launched a heavy missile attack on ISIL positions inside Syria, media outlets disclosed on Saturday.

The sites that are monitoring flights reported that a P-8A Poseidon aircraft took off from the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily Island and flew for several hours over Syria’s Mediterranean coast where Russia’s naval task force launched multiple missile strikes on ISIL’s strongholds in Syria.

The Russian defense ministry said on Friday that two Russian Navy frigates and a submarine fired six Kalibr cruise missiles on ISIL’s targets in Syria.

The missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates, the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, from the Eastern Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement.

Militants who survived the attack were later killed in airstrikes.

The strikes targeted ISIL command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama.

“Today’s precision strike hit a large ISIL ammunition depot near the town of Aqirbat, which detonated after receiving a direct hit,” the Defense Ministry statement noted.

The remaining targets were destroyed in subsequent airstrikes, the ministry said. Russia warned Turkey and Israel about the attacks via military-to-military hotlines, it added.

Over the past week, ISIL militants made numerous attempts to escape the besieged city of Raqqa and head towards Palmyra using a “southern corridor,” the Russian army said.

“The terrorists are moving forces through rugged terrain to the Hama province during the night and setting up command posts and ammunition depots in large buildings there,” it added.

The movements of ISIL militants in the area were being monitored by Russian surveillance assets operating round the clock, the military said, adding that any potential targets detected would be subject to precision strikes by the Air Force.

In a relevant development in May, the same warships fired four cruise missiles that hit combat vehicles and militants outside the Syrian city of Palmyra.

According to the Defense Ministry, “[the ships] targeted an area east of Palmyra, where the militants’ heavy weaponry and manpower were located. The militants had moved there from Raqqa. All targets were destroyed,” it said.

The strike was launched after a large Islamic State convoy, comprising 39 vehicles and 120 militants, was spotted outside the city of Raqqa, a Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti at the time.

“The terrorist convoy of 39 pickup trucks was detected and destroyed by the Air Force on its way to Palmyra,” the source said, adding that the vehicles had been equipped with large-caliber machine guns.

Chances Rising for US-Russia Confrontation in Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Russian newspaper warned that the US doesn’t need peace in the Middle-East, adding that the possibility of confrontation between Moscow and Washington in Syria has increased.

Geopolitica newspaper quoted Russian analyst Olga Sokhariva as saying that as Moscow’s military achievements in Syria increase, Washington shows more tendency to keep the ISIL powerful in the war-torn Arab country.

The analyst added that opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), apparently have the same goal in fighting against the ISIL but this is not the reality.

She referred to the ISIL forces’ cooperation with the US and the SDF’s collaboration with the terrorists to leave Raqqa and move to Badiyeh (desert) region in Syria through a safe corridor, and said Washington wants to weaken the Syrian army forces in their fight against the ISIL.

The analyst said that a fully similar situation also prevails along Syria’s Southern borders where the US-backed and controlled FSA is fighting against the Syrian army without any confrontation against the ISIL. In addition, the US warplanes target the government forces under the pretext of supporting their own positions.

She added that the US and its allies pave the ground for the establishment of ISIL terrorists’ colony in new regions without efforts to annihilate them to weaken the government forces in Syria’s Badiyeh and Iraq’s al-Anbar regions.

The analyst concluded that the US doesn’t want peace in the Middle-East and the current situation will lead to armed conflicts between Russia and the US in the Syrian territories.