Russia has deployed two of its most advanced and sophisticated stealth jets in Syria, in a power move likely to draw US criticism, as the Pentagon expressed its alarm earlier this month over recent close calls with Russian planes in the war-torn country.  Satellite images published by Israeli company ImageSat International on Friday showed the fifth generation jets — two Su-57 fighter aircraft — at Russia’s airbase in the coastal Syrian city of Latakia.

A source in the defense ministry confirmed to RBK news agency this week that the two planes were sent to the Hmeimim base “for a test in real conditions.” The jets are said to be a potential rival to the US’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which American forces use in patrols over Syria.  The deployment came with a covert warning to Israel by a Russian official, who said that the presence of the Su-57s will doubtlessly send a political message, serving as a deterrent “for aircraft from neighboring states, which periodically fly into Syrian airspace uninvited.”  READ MORE