Russians in Syria: Now you see them - maybe

Guterres remarks come as doctors in the enclave accuse the government of launching a chlorine gas attack

Guterres remarks come as doctors in the enclave accuse the government of launching a chlorine gas attack

Before a Russian mercenary attack on United States and allied forces in Syria earlier this month, the Russian oligarch believed to control the mercenaries - a man who the United States special counsel indicted last week - was "in close touch" with Russian and Syrian officials, The Washington Post reported Thursday evening.

Reports say two of Russia's Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets had been recently seen in the skies above Syria and then seem landing at the Hmeymim airbase in the country's western Latakia province.

As Palmer reports, there is a hotline between the Russian military and the US forces that's meant to avoid incidents like this on the complicated battlefields of Syria, and the Pentagon says they used it to warn the Russian military before the counterstrikes on February 7.

"The addition of fifth generation fighters into Syria would certainly not be in keeping with Russia's announced force drawdown", Eric Pahon, a Defense Department spokesperson, said. The Sukhoi Su-57 jets are the most advanced stealth aircraft in the possession of the Russian Air Force.

This time the Russian government was mum.

Russian Federation first deployed forces and aircraft to Syria in 2015, changing the dynamic as US and coalition troops began their air campaign against the Islamic State a year earlier. It is not clear if the Jets would be used for actual combat operations.

Above, Russian troops in Syria past year. The first stage of state trials has been concluded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's combat efficiency and quality of weapons can be ranked the best in the world, which ensures the country's safety.

Last month, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance said that the Russian air force has been tracking and watching how fourth- and fifth-generation USA aircraft perform within the Syrian airspace.

The US jets fired warning flares during the intercept of the two Russian Su-25 close air support jets according to US officials after they crossed the de-confliction line multiple times. "Our adversaries are watching us, they're learning from us".

It was only when pictures of the men killed in the strike started to appear on social media that the USA knew they'd killed Russian citizens.

According to the draft agreement and the documents obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, Prigozhin visited the Russian-operated Hmeimim base, negotiated with officials of the Oil Ministry in Damascus to sign a "quota" contract, and showed interest in all energy sources, including those controlled by Washington's allies.

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