Russian fighter jets shadowed U.S. predator drones on at least three separate occasions high above Syria since the start of Russia’s air campaign last week, according to two U.S. officials briefed on this latest intelligence from the region.“The first time it happened, we thought the Russians got lucky. Then it happened two more times,” said one official. Both officials said that the incidents took place over ISIS-controlled Syria, including its de facto headquarters in Raqqa, as well as along the Turkish-Syrian border near Korbani. Another occurred in the northwest, near the highly contested city of Aleppo.The U.S. military’s MQ-1 Predator drone is not a stealth aircraft.”It is easy to see a predator on radar,” said one official.The Russians have not attempted to shoot down any of the U.S. drones, but instead have flown “intercept tracks,” a doctrinal term meaning the Russians flew close enough to make their presence felt, according to one official.
Russia will either get around to shooting down a drone (which, you know, the US isn’t going to go to war with Russia over) or more likely, in the next round of “deconfliction” talks, pressure the US to move its drone orbits to avoid possible mid-air collisions with Russian fighters.
Either way, they’re pretty blatantly trying to shoulder aside the US led effort in Syria.