Syrian Mig-29 Fulcrums escorted the 28 Russian jets that deployed to Latakia hiding under cargo planes

According to our sources, some (if not all) the Russian Air Force formations that arrived in Syria were “greeted” by Assad’s Mig-29 Fulcrums.

A U.S. official who spoke to FoxNews has just confirmed what we reported with plenty of details yesterday: the 28 Russian Sukhoi jets hid under radar signature of cargo planes and made a stopover in Iran en route to Syria.

As already explained, the entire operation was closely monitored by the Israeli Air Force, that during and after the deployment launched several missions of G.550 Eitam CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) and G.550 Shavit ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) aircraft off Lebanon to gather intelligence on the Russians.

But, the Israeli spyplanes were not only “watching” the Sukhoi Su-30, Su-24 and Su-25 deploying to Latakia: they were most probably more interested in the Syrian Arab Air Force aircraft that were launched to greet and escort the Russians into the Syrian airspace. In fact, it seems that most if not all the formations of combat planes trailing the Il-76 cargo planes, were intercepted and escorted to Latakia by Syrian planes, including SyAAF Mig-29 Fulcrum jets, according to a source who spoke to The Aviationist under the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Russian planes deployed to Syria have reportedly flown their first local (familiarization) sorties. It’s not clear whether they were accompanied by Syrian planes but, for sure, Israeli ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) assets were pretty active all day on Sept. 24, circling between Cyprus and Lebanon as their tracks collected by ADS-B on show. Closely monitoring the Russians? Or the Syrian Migs? Most probably, both ones.



Top image: file photo of a Serbian Mig-29 (Wikimedia); bottom screenshots credit:

H/T to @obretix for contributing to this post

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. This is all intended to make it look like the Israelis were on top of intelligence. So what? Can they really do anything? does Russia need permission from WESTERN countries to be in Syria? Western countries have this over blown self importance. IF indeed you are important, do you need to broadcast this assumed importance all the time? If indeed you are the strongest military the world has ever seen , why then broadcast it all the time? To me it shows lack of confidence that comes out of the mouths of these politicians that indeed, this is just hype…just hype.

    • Well it’s interesting at least from the point of view that not to long ago being able to even have a clue as to how Israel’s AEW’s operated in terms of patrol routes was probably classified. Now this flight tracking data gives some insights into the G-550’s capibilities in terms of preformance and range.

    • I’m sure the Israelis were watching, but so were we. And frankly we have far superior reconnaissance and intelligence assets. Hopefully Obama grasps the gravity of the situation and builds up US assets that could neutralize Russian forces. Then again, even on the rare occasions when Obama manages to get anything right in Mid East, the GOP TeaBillies in DC try to keep him from acting. Right now, it seems the Russians are building air defense systems and preparing to receive enough troops to act in the stead of the Syrian armed forces. The Syrian AF is so incompetent it won’t even rise to meet IAF overflights. Perhaps the Russians will try to interdict the Israelis. That could get interesting. Putin has his dingle in a wringer right now. He has been checked in Ukraine and he knows that dreams of re taking the Baltic States are dead. His Chinese friends just realized they need the USA to keep their fictional economy afloat. Oil prices are tanking and Putin’s military expansion fantasy is being canceled in chunks. So he’s doing a Hail Mary trying to insert Russia into the Arab World. With all due respect to the little man’s pluck, even Brezhnev failed on that count and Putin is no Brezhnev. The problem is that his best asset is Iran. And a non Shia Arab population will not tolerate Iranians on Arab land. Putin is trying to cobble together an Iranian proxy empire out of nothing more than hope and bravado. As much as I shake my head at the idiocy if our own foreign policy since 9-11, Putin’s folly is going to make our errors look like sound policy.

  2. The fighters were not “hiding” its common practice in VVS to stay with the Il-76s during transit. It is something they learned to do in Afghanistan. Besides during a long flight it makes it easy for the fighter pilots to navigate, you just stay in a loose formation with the cargo/refuel plane.

  3. Why do you keep using terms like “hiding”, “stealth”, suggesting some sort of secrecy or whatever, while it is clear they flew over friendly territory, even landed eventually, with all the required authorizations. They were simply flying in formation with the big boys, I think quite a standard practice when deploying your tactical force…

  4. This is good intelligence, as the West will counter. The nimitz and roosevelt aircraft carriers have been re directed towards syria with f35s (nimitz ), f15s, and f18s onboard. F22 squadrons in Saudi Arabia are fueled up and loaded. Jordan, Israel and turkey have US aircraft on tarmacks ready.

  5. Russia is there to try and keep Assad from falling. It won’t work. Since the rise of Assad’s father, Syria has always been a country where an Alawaite minority, aligned with Moscow, has ruled over a Sunni majority. When that issue simmered over in 1980, Assad’s daddy killed about 30,000 of his own people in less than 20 days. In the era of Pan Arabism and Arab Socialism that mix worked (barely) as long as the al Assad clan and it’s henchmen were willing to rule with an iron fist. But now? Well, pan Arabism is long dead. The national identities of Franco-British made up Arab nations mean nothing. What will Putin do? Try to restore his ally Assad with the help of Iranians and Shia militias? They will be as welcome in Syria as Israelis. Putin’s war machine makes the American military seem like the Peace Corps. Russians don’t accept “collateral civilian casualties” they bomb cities flat. Look at Grozny and you will see how Russians fight insurgency wars. Putin will be able to keep Assad in Damascus but he won’t run a Sunni nation with Iranian and Lebanese Shia troops aiding his untrained Russian forces. Welcome to the green zone, Vlad. Have a nice stay.

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