Latakia, Syria – A U.S. spy plane approached the Russian Hmeimim Airbase in western Syria on Thursday before disappearing off the Levantine country’s coast, Avia.Pro reported.
According to the Avia.Pro report, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon spy plane approached the Hmeimim Airbase from the western flank, but the aircraft turned away before reaching the Syrian coast.
The publication said the aircraft was likely conducting a reconnaissance mission off the coast of Latakia.
“We cannot exclude the possibility that the crew of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon spy plane decided on some kind of a cunning plan, which can be really confusing since visually the route of its flight path did not go along the entire coast of Syria. However, it is not known where the American military aircraft spent the remaining hour of their fight,” a military expert told Avia.Pro.
U.S. P-8A spy planes are often spotted in the eastern Mediterranean; however, they very rarely cross into Syrian airspace. The number of US and NATO spy planes and drones near Russia’s, China’s, Syria’s, Venezuela’s and Iran’s borders have been steadily increasing over the past couple of years.
On Monday, July 22, Armed Forces of Venezuela reported that a US EP-3E ARIES II radio-electronic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft violated Venezuelan airspace.
There are reports that the Russian Aerospace Forces fighter jets have intercepted hundreds of US and NATO spy aircraft flying along Russia’s vast borders since January this year. However, this number could be much higher given the fact that the Russian military reported more than 3,000 spy plane flights near its borders in 2018 alone. When the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) releases official data for this year, the exact number of US and NATO spy planes and drones near Russia’s borders will be specified.
The United States hasn’t yet commented on the incident.