23:51 GMT13 April 2021
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    The reported reconnaissance flight came after the Russian Defence Ministry stated in late October that the US Poseidon 8 plane was in manual control over the unmanned aerial vehicles which conducted a massive attack on the Russian air base in Hmeymim, Syria.

    The US Navy anti-submarine patrol aircraft Poseidon P-8A conducted a surveillance flight near the coast of Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces' Hmeymin airbase and the Russian Navy base in Tartus are located, according to the IntelSky flight tracker.

    The plane with the number 168848 departed from the Sigonella airbase in Sicily on Friday and flew for more than three hours over the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, along the Syrian coast.

    The Pentagon has not commented on the matter, but US reconnaissance planes have repeatedly carried out flights over Hmeymin and Tartus bases in the past.

    The Friday flight comes after Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said on October 26 that the Hmeymim airbase had been subject to a massive drone attack, with unmanned aerial vehicles having been piloted by a US Poseidon 8 surveillance aircraft.

    "The Poseidon 8, equipped with modern technology, was in manual control [over the drones]," Fomin said.

    He added that when the drones encountered the radio-electronic barrier protecting the Russian equipment, they were ordered to fly a specific distance away from it.

    READ MORE: Russia Destroys Unidentified Drones Flying Over Hmeymim Airbase in Syria — MoD

    Late last year, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia had started establishing a permanent presence in the coastal city of Tartus and at Hmeymim in neighbouring Latakia province, where he said the Russian armed forces are equipped with modern weapons "at 59.5 percent", while the serviceability of weapons is at 94 percent.

    The anti-aircraft defence of Hmeymim Airbase is provided for by advanced S-400 systems, while S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, as well as the cruise missile-equipped Bastion coastal missile systems cover the Tartus base.


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    coast, flight, plane, surveillance, Hmeymim airbase, P-8A Poseidon, Syria
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