US Fighter Jets Intercept Two Russian Planes in Syria, Pentagon Says

15 December, 2017, 09:42 | Author: Luis Fowler
  • The Independent: US jets intercept Russian planes over Syria and fire warning flares

A Su-35 fighter jet, which provided cover for the Russian planes, "rapidly approached" the F-22 from the rear and the United States warplane left the area afterward, the ministry added.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the 49-year contract signed between the Syrian and Russian governments for Russian Aerospace Forces ownership of the Khmeimim base remains valid. Defense officials worry continued fights over airspace could quickly heighten tensions between the nations as pilots make split-second decisions at the helm of armed jets flying hundreds of miles an hour, raising the chance of a miscalculation that results in either a collision or a shoot-down if they feel coalition troops are at risk.

The F-22 ended up trailing that Su-35 after it flew across the river into territory deemed unsafe to coalition aircraft. However, he said, the coalition would defend itself or SDF fighters if they were threatened.

"The Pentagon's representatives' conclusions on the withdrawal or non-withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria show not only their ill-concealed wishes that we should not be there but also that the United States does not have real information on what is happening on the ground", Konashenkov said.

The incident is the latest encounter between the two countries' air forces, who have been operating often in close proximity in Syrian airspace.

U.S. forces operate on the east side of the Euphrates River, while Russian Federation operate on the west side as part of a verbal agreement between the two countries.

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US Air Force Central Command has indicated in the past that Russia regularly crosses these lines, which were established in an effort to avoid conflict between US-colaition forces and Russian forces.

Pickart said the Russians have flown east of the Euphrates on average six to eight times per day, amounting to about 10 percent of their flights. "It's become increasingly tough for our pilots to discern whether Russian pilots' actions are deliberate or if these are just honest mistakes", he added, saying, "the coalition's greatest concern is that we could shoot down a Russian aircraft because its actions are seen as a threat to our air or ground forces".

The US jets fired warning flares during the intercept of the two Russian Su-25 close air support jets according to the officials after they crossed the de-confliction line multiple times.

American warplanes intercepted Russian fighter jets that flew into coalition airspace in Syria on Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight" before it was chased away, Konashenkov said.