(Updates with quotes, details)
MOSCOW, Sept 21 The Russian Defence Ministry
said on Wednesday that a U.S. Predator drone was in the area
where a U.N. aid convoy was partially destroyed in Syria on
Monday and had appeared on the scene minutes before the
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the
ministry, said the drone had taken off from the Incirlik air
base in Turkey, arrived in the area a few minutes before the
convoy had caught fire, and left about 30 minutes later.
He noted that such drones were armed with air-to-ground
"Only the drone's owners know what it was doing there at the
necessary moment and what tasks it was carrying out,"
Konashenkov said in a statement, saying Russia was not drawing
any conclusions about the drone's presence.
Konashenkov repeated denials of any Russian involvement in
the episode and said Western allegations that Moscow was
directly or indirectly responsible were an attempt to distract
attention from the U.S.-led coalition's deadly bombing of Syrian
soldiers near Deir al-Zor airport on Saturday.
Russian planes were not in the area at the time and had not
made any air strikes there, he said, saying Moscow had informed
the United States of that the same evening as the incident took
(Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Lidia Kelly; Editing by