F-15C
American pilots prepare to board their F-15C fightersReuters File

Amid increasing Russian influence over the Syrian skies, the United States is sending in a large number of F-15Cs fitted with air-to-air combat weaponry.

Security experts believe that the fighters are being deployed at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to maintain a strict no-fly zone over the Turkish border to the north of Syria, which is periodically violated by both the Russian and Syrian air forces.

According to The Daily Beast, the single-seat air superiority fighters will be fitted with eight air-to-air missiles and their objective would be to protect the Turkish border and escort other jets during bombing missions.

The F-15s being sent to Turkey will be the first batch of American warplanes meant solely for air-to-air combat. The F-15Cs were used in many air-to-air combat against the Iraqi air force during the Gulf War.

Since Russia's arrival in Syria with its Sukhoi SU-30 jets, the US and its allies including Israel have become worried. Last month, there were reports that six Russian SU-30s intercepted four Israeli McDonnell Douglas F-15 bombers flying in attack formation near Latakia.

SU 30
Russian pilots ready a Su-30 fighter for a raid at Hmeimim aerodrome in SyriaReuters File

A report said that the Israeli jets were "surprised" and were unprepared for a dogfight, hence they turned course and left the region via Lebanon.

The growing Russian air presence in the conflict zone has been a cause of worry for both the US and Israel.

As per recent reports, Russia, assisted by its super surveillance planes and the free-hand given to it by both the Iraqi and Syrian governments, currently wields superior control over both Iraqi and Syrian air space. This means both the US and Israel can not carry out any mission in the region without Russia knowing about it.

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