Hours after a US Army official confirmed that Russia had sent its most advanced fighter jet to Syria, images from an Israeli satellite show two of those jets at a Syrian air base, further fueling speculations that Russia is continuing to increase its military presence in Syria.
The two Russian jets at the Khmeimim air base Photo credit: ImageSat International (ISI)
Two Russian stealth jets were filmed by an Israeli satellite in a Syrian air base. This further confirms earlier reports that Russia has recently sent the jets to Syria despite its promise to reduce its military presence there.
The Israeli satellite EROS-B, operated by ImageSat International (ISI), captured the two Russian jets at the Khmeimim air base near Lattakia. The Sukhoi Su-57 jets are the most advanced stealth aircraft in the possession of the Russian Air Force.
It is still not clear whether or not Russia has already used the jets for fighting in Syria, though ISI officials believe the jets have been used to collect intelligence.
Earlier on Saturday, a US Army official confirmed to CNN that at least one Russian jet had been sent. Several Russian media outlets have reported that two other jets were sent to Syria as well.
A Russian parliament member has welcomed the move, saying it could deter other countries which send their jet to fly above Syria. He added, however, that he cannot officially confirm the reports.
This move comes despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vow to narrow down his country’s military presence in Syria. Pentagon Spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN that “the addition of fifth-generation fighters into Syria would certainly not be in keeping with Russia’s announced force drawdown.”