BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The Russian military is no longer tolerating U.S flights near the Syrian coast, as they have now intercepted at least three American planes in the eastern Mediterranean over the last 90 days.
According to a Syrian military source in Damascus, the Russian Armed Forces previously tolerated the U.S.’ flights along the boundaries of Syria’s airspace, but given their repeated attempts to test the radar and air defense systems at the Hmeimim Airbase, the Russian Federation believes it is important to remind the Americans that they are not free to operate in these areas.
The source pointed out that prior to the recent interception by the Russian Air Force, the U.S. Navy had conducted several flights near Syrian airspace in the month of May.
When the Russian Air Force’s S-35 jets intercepted two U.S. P-8A Poseidon military aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean, the American planes were not seen in this region for several days.
While interceptions are normal, especially when flying near another country’s airspace, the eastern Mediterranean has long been a NATO zone of influence.
With Turkey and Greece located in the eastern and northern Mediterranean regions, the U.S. and its NATO allies were able to operate freely without any threats to their aircraft.
However, since the Russian military’s intervention in the Syrian Conflict in September 2015, the latter has demonstrated that they maintain a zone of influence in a substantial part of the eastern Mediterranean, which is an area they do not plan on ceding to the U.S. and its NATO partners.