DAMASCUS, (BM) – According to the Chinese news agency Sohu, a Russian fighter jet shot down an American drone near Khmeimim air base in Syria, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Sohu and other news agency – Aviapro.
The drone is owned by the US Air Force, but was given to Syrian rebels. According to the agency, the drone was supposed to reconnoiter over the region of the Russian military Khmeimim air base and subsequently to be part in a planned air raid on the base.
“The Russian fighter shot down a small American reconnaissance drone provided by the Pentagon to the Nusra armed forces,” Sohu wrote.
According to the publication, this drone was given to Nusra’s armed forces at the beginning of the year, when there were dozens of armed clashes in Syria between the Syrian army and the rebels, as well as between pro-Turkish forces and Russian-Syrian units.
The type of the drone is not known yet, but according to the publication, the Russian military and air forces have considered that it could endanger the functioning of the Khmeimim air base and have taken action to remove it.
No statements have been made by the Russian Ministry of Defense so far.
About Al-Nusra front
Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra, known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham after July 2016, and also described as al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant, was a Salafist jihadist organization fighting against Syrian government forces in the Syrian Civil War. Its aim was to establish an Islamic state in the country.
Formed in 2012, in November of that year several western media described al-Nusra as “the most aggressive and successful” of the rebel forces.
In March 2015, the group joined with other jihadist groups to form the Army of Conquest. In July 2016, al-Nusra formally re-branded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (“Front for the Conquest of the Levant”).
On 28 January 2017, following violent clashes with Ahrar al-Sham and other rebel groups, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham merged with four other groups to become Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. However, Tahrir al-Sham has officially denied being part of al-Qaeda and said in a statement that the group is “an independent entity and not an extension of previous organizations or factions”
In February, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria, nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, dozens of Turkish armored vehicles were destroyed and more than ten drones, including drone, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, concluded an agreement according to which a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would be able to use force.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind a number of Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Turkey is also supported by militants loyal to it.
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