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Fearful? ‘US F-15s Are Not Cleared to Defend Turkish Airspace’

© Photo : Russian Defense MinistryIn this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, a Russian seaman stands next to a machine gun on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, a Russian seaman stands next to a machine gun on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria - Sputnik International
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The US has deployed F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters and F-15E Strike Eagle strike fighters to the Incirlik air base, it operates together with Turkey. The original aim was “to stiffen Turkish air defenses against Russian encroachments,” but it was never “cleared to defend Ankara’s airspace even if confronted by Russian or Syrian warplanes.”

The apparent reason for the abstention of the military confrontation is “the formidable S-300 air defense system” mounted on the Russia missile cruiser Moskva off the Syrian coast and its even more powerful S-400 air defense system, deployed on the ground, according to Defense reporter Dave Majumdar.

“US Air Force F-15C Eagles operating out of Turkey’s Incirlik air force base are not cleared to defend Ankara’s airspace even if confronted by Russian or Syrian warplanes,” he wrote in an article for The National Interest magazine.

© Photo : Russian Defense MinistryIn this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva cruises near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva cruises near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria - Sputnik International
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva cruises near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria

The fighters were initially deployed “because of increased Russian air activity near the border,” he adds.

“As one senior US Air Force official explained, the service deployed six F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters and six F-15E Strike Eagle strike fighters to the Incirlik air base in November. While the Strike Eagles were tasked to hit Daesh targets in northern Syria, the F-15Cs were sent to stiffen Turkish air defenses against Russian encroachments,” the author explains.

© Photo : Russian Defense Ministry / Go to the photo bankThe Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area
The Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area - Sputnik International
The Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area

However after the shootdown of the Russian Su-24 bomber Russian forces moved the missile cruiser Moskva to the Syrian coast, he explains.

“The massive warship is equipped with the powerful S-300F air defense system. The formidable S-300 is a deadly threat to conventional fighters like the F-15 and F-16.”

© Photo : Russian Defense Ministry In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Osa missile defense system on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva is seen near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Osa missile defense system on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva is seen near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria - Sputnik International
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, the Osa missile defense system on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva is seen near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria

“Subsequently, the Russians deployed the even more fearsome S-400 air defense system to their base in Latakia, Syria, which enables them to engage targets deep inside Turkish airspace with relative impunity.”

© Sputnik / Dmitry Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankRussia deploys S-400 air defence missile system in Syria
Russia deploys S-400 air defence missile system in Syria - Sputnik International
Russia deploys S-400 air defence missile system in Syria

“The whole Russian shoot-down and subsequent major Russian deployments of weapons in Syria is making this whole thing a mess,” the author quotes one Air Force official as saying, without revealing his name.

The United States and Turkey however are working on an agreement to allow the US Air Force F-15Cs to defend Turkish airspace.

The precise rules of engagement and procedures have yet to be” ironed out” to avoid a repeat of the deadly incident in the Syrian airspace.

© Photo : Russian Defense Ministry / Go to the photo bankThe M-4 (Osa-M) air defense system on the missile cruiser Moskva, which has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area
The M-4 (Osa-M) air defense system on the missile cruiser Moskva, which has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area - Sputnik International
The M-4 (Osa-M) air defense system on the missile cruiser Moskva, which has reached the coast of Latakia to perform air defense in the area
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