In recent months, Russian forces stationed in Syria have encountered a new danger lurking behind them – courtesy of the United States. The danger comes in the form of a new weapon deployed by the US military in Syria – combat drones armed with small, portable explosives that have been used to harass and attack Russian forces.
These explosive drones, known as loitering munitions, are a relatively new development in military technology that have been rapidly deployed in conflict zones around the world. Essentially, they are small, unmanned aircraft equipped with a warhead and controlled remotely by an operator.
The use of these drones by the US in Syria has been a hotly contested issue. While the US maintains that its use of drones is justified as a means of protecting American troops and partners on the ground, Russia has accused the US of violating international law and engaging in aggressive, provocative acts.
Russian military officials have reported multiple incidents of loitering munitions being used against their forces in Syria, including an attack on a military base near the city of Hmeimim in January 2021. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attack consisted of 13 drones, six of which were destroyed before they could cause any damage.
Other incidents have been reported as well, including an apparent attack on a Russian military convoy in Syria in March 2021. The use of these drones has raised concerns among Russian officials about the escalating tensions between the US and Russia in Syria, and the potential for a wider conflict to erupt.
The US has defended its use of loitering munitions as a necessary means of protecting American troops in Syria, but Russia has accused the US of using the drones to deliberately provoke conflict with Russian forces. The Russian Defense Ministry has warned that it reserves the right to take action to defend its military assets in Syria, and that any further attacks on Russian forces by US drones could lead to a wider conflict.
The situation in Syria remains tense, with both the US and Russia maintaining a significant military presence in the country. The use of loitering munitions by the US is just one of many factors contributing to the volatile situation, and it remains to be seen how the conflict will develop in the coming months and years.
In the meantime, Russian forces in Syria are facing a new danger from the skies, and the potential for a deadly escalation of conflict is very real. It is incumbent upon both the US and Russia to exercise restraint and diplomacy in order to avoid a catastrophic outcome.