Three Russian fighter jets harassed US drones over Syria: US Air Force

Last month, the US deployed F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base to the Middle East due to increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behavior by Russian aircraft in the region.

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Russian fighter jets harassed American aircraft on an anti-ISIS mission in Syria, the US military said on Wednesday.

“Earlier today at approximately 10:40 AM, Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior while interacting with US aircraft in Syria,” said Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the US general responsible for air operations in the Middle East.

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Three US MQ-9 drones were on a mission against ISIS targets when three Russian fighter jets began harassing the drones, according to Lt. Gen. Grynkewich.

The Russian jets dropped multiple parachute flares in front of the American drones, forcing the aircraft to conduct evasive maneuvers.

One Russian pilot then positioned their aircraft in front of an MQ-9 and engaged the afterburner, making it difficult for the American drone to operate safely.

“These events represent another example of unprofessional and unsafe actions by Russian air forces operating in Syria, which threaten the safety of both US and Russian forces,” Lt. Gen. Grynkewich said.

He urged Russian forces in Syria to stop their “reckless behavior” and comply with standards of behavior expected of a professional air force “so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Erik Kurilla slammed Russia for its continued unsafe and unprofessional behavior. “Their regular violation of agreed upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation,” he said in a statement.

Last month, the US deployed F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base to the Middle East due to increasingly unsafe and unprofessional behavior by Russian aircraft in the region.

That move came after US military officials told Al Arabiya English that Russia’s military forces in Syria had stopped adhering to agreed-upon deconfliction protocols with American and Coalition troops.

Lt. Gen. Grynkewich previously said that Russia was continuing to try to drag the US into a dogfight over the skies of Syria.

Read more: In Syria, Russia has stopped adhering to safe air protocols: US Air Force

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