Russia starts Syria drone surveillance missions: U.S. officials

Russia has started flying drone aircraft on surveillance missions in Syria, U.S. officials said on Monday, in what appeared to be Moscow’s first military air operations there since staging a rapid buildup at a Syrian air base.

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Moving Towards Ezekiel 38-39

“To take a spoilStrongs 7998: shalal, shaw-lawl´; from 7997; booty:—prey, spoil., and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoilStrongs 7998: shalal, shaw-lawl´; from 7997; booty:—prey, spoil.? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoilStrongs 7998: shalal, shaw-lawl´; from 7997; booty:—prey, spoil.?”
Ezekiel 38:12-13

The beginning of Russian drone flights underscored the risks of U.S.-led coalition planes and Russian aircraft operating within Syria’s limited airspace, without agreeing on coordination or objectives in Syria’s civil war.

The former Cold War foes have a common adversary in Islamic State militants in Syria. But Washington opposes Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, seeing him as a driving force in the four-and-a-half year-long civil war.

The Pentagon declined comment at a news briefing when asked about the Reuters report on Russian drones, saying it could not discuss intelligence matters. But it said the U.S. Department of Defense was “keenly aware” of what was happening on the ground in Syria.

The White House acknowledged that Moscow’s intentions were unclear and that the prospect of deepening Russian military backing for Assad was troubling.

“We’ve made clear both in public and in private that doubling down on supporting Assad is a losing bet,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the number of fixed-wing, piloted Russian aircraft stationed at the air base near Latakia, an Assad stronghold, had also grown dramatically in recent days.

That included Russia’s positioning of a dozen “Fencer” advanced-attack aircraft and a dozen “Frogfoot” jets, used for close air support. Those were in addition to Russia’s first deployment of fighter jets last week.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend the United States welcomed Russia’s involvement in tackling Islamic State militants in Syria. But he said a worsening refugee crisis highlighted the need to find a compromise that could also lead to political change in the country.

Syria’s civil war has killed an estimated 250,000 people, and many continue to flee their homes, with 4 million refugees and another 7.6 million displaced inside the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to continue military support for Assad, assistance that Russia says is in line with international law.

It was also unclear whether Moscow might eventually target opposition fighters that the United States supports in Syria, seeing them as equal threats to Assad as Islamic State fighters.

U.S. and Russian defense chiefs agreed on Friday to explore ways to avoid accidental interactions, also known as “deconfliction” in military parlance. But those discussions were described as only at their inception.

It was unclear whether the U.S.-Russian talks might gain added urgency, now that Moscow has started drone flights.

Russia’s drone operations appeared to be staged out of the air base near Latakia, officials said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was not immediately clear how many Russian drone aircraft were operating or the scope of their missions.

At the State Department, spokesman John Kirby acknowledged concerns over the kind of Russian hardware being sent to Syria, saying it added to questions about whether Moscow’s aim was mostly to battle Islamic State or to “prop up the Assad regime.”

Meanwhile, Israel and Russia agreed to coordinate military actions over Syria in order to avoid accidentally trading fire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after talks in Moscow with Putin that they had “agreed on a mechanism to prevent such misunderstandings.”

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Grant McCool)

  1. Etzel, 25 September, 2015

    A great conflict in the making Russia and Iran are the major players in this arena, the obama administration, has done little or nothing but shoot their mouths off and play to the crowd.

    We need The Leadership of Godly men not the weak will self indulgent idiots in power.

    That said, God is still in control and on His timetable

    Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    Believer in the promises of the Messiah have this and many other promises and reassurances!

    John 14:1 ¶ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

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