US F-22s Intercept Russian Jets Over Syria

15 December, 2017, 09:40 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
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                                  U.S. Air Force

The unnamed official went on to say that Russian aircraft left the safe zone after flares were launched.

The Russian Air Force has been supporting the Syrian government since sending dozens of fighter and attack aircraft to an airbase near the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015. An Su-35 also flew across the river, and it was closely shadowed by one of the American jets.

During and following the encounter, coalition leaders contacted Russian officers on a special hotline to try to calm the situation and avert a "strategic miscalculation", Pahon said.

They "were promptly intercepted by two F-22A Raptors providing air cover for partner ground forces conducting operations to defeat IS", Pahon said.

The U.S. military said two F-22As fired flares in front of the Russian Su-25 jets that had crossed to the east side of the Euphrates.

One of the US pilots also performed an aggressive maneuver to avoid a midair collision, said Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman.

To help prevent collisions, military officials from Russian Federation and the United States agreed last month to fly on opposite sides of a 45-mile portion of the Euphrates River.

Russian MoD via YouTube
Russian MoD via YouTube

US commanders told The New York Times earlier this month, however, that the Russians have violated the agreement half a dozen times.

"We saw anywhere from six to eight incidents daily in late November, where Russian or Syrian aircraft crossed into our airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River", Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told CNN on Saturday.

"If either of us needs to cross the river for any reason, we're supposed to first de-conflict via the line".

"It's become increasingly tough for our pilots to discern whether Russian pilots' actions are deliberate or if these are just honest mistakes", the spokesman said.

But the US Air Force categorically denies the incident, saying in a statement that deconfliction phone line transcripts show Russian Federation never called about the incident and that Coalition flight logs have no record of any US cross overs without informing Russian Federation first.

America's top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, spoke on the phone last week with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, according to a spokesman for the Joint Staff. CNN did not report on how many of those times were after pre-notification using the de-confliction channel.

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