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Russia, Syria kick off joint air defense drills

This file picture shows Russian Su-30 fighter jets at the Hmeimim airbase near Syria's western coastal city of Latakia. (Photo by RIA Novosti news agency)

Russia and Syria have kicked off joint air force and air defense drills to ensure the efficiency of Russian air defense systems in controlling the Arab country’s airspace.

The defense drills began on Wednesday and will last for six days, according to Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria.

“In the course of training it is planned to work out the issues of joint actions of aviation, air defense and electronic warfare forces in repulsion of air strikes,” Gurinov said on Tuesday.

He noted that nine violations of flight safety rules by drones of the US-led coalition were reported in northern Syria during the past day.

“The increase in the number of non-deconflicted flights adds to the escalation of tension and in no way promotes mutual constructive cooperation,” Gurinov said.

“We repeat that the Russian side bears no responsibility for the safety of uncoordinated flights of unmanned aerial vehicles,” he added.

The US and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

American forces have so far sustained their illegal presence on the Arab country’s soil, although Damascus and its allies defeated Daesh in late 2017.

Russia has been helping Syrian forces in the ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued state, mainly providing aerial support to ground operations against foreign-backed terrorists.

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