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Russian Fighter Jets Harass American Drones over Syria, US Releases Video Footage

by Joshua Brown
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US Drone Strike

The United States Air Force has released a video showcasing Russian fighter jets engaging in provocative actions against American drones over Syria. On Wednesday, a number of MQ-9 Reaper drones were subjected to dangerously close flybys by Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft, compelling the drones to execute evasive maneuvers and deploy flares, according to the Air Force.

The video footage released by the U.S. Air Forces Central reveals a Russian SU-35 fighter approaching a Reaper drone, followed by the deployment of parachute flares that obstructed the drone’s flight path. These flares are equipped with parachutes for controlled descent.

Lieutenant General Alex Grynkewich, commander of the 9th Air Force in the Middle East, reported that three U.S. drones were engaged in a mission against the Islamic State group over Syria after 10:30 a.m. local time. During this operation, three Russian aircraft initiated disruptive behavior towards the drones, an incident that Grynkewich referred to as “harassment.”

In one instance, a Russian pilot maneuvered their aircraft in front of a drone and activated the SU-35’s afterburner, significantly boosting its speed and generating high air pressure. The jet blast produced by the afterburner has the potential to damage the Reaper drone’s electronic systems, thereby compromising the operator’s ability to safely control the aircraft.

“We condemn the unsafe and unprofessional conduct exhibited by Russian military aircraft during their interaction with U.S. aircraft in Syria,” stated Grynkewich. He emphasized the need for Russian forces to halt such reckless behavior and adhere to the expected standards of a professional air force. By doing so, the focus can shift back to the ultimate objective of defeating ISIS.

Army General Erik Kurilla, who heads the U.S. Central Command, expressed concern over Russia’s infringement upon ongoing efforts to secure Syrian airspace. He warned that such actions increase the risk of escalation or misinterpretation of intentions.

Currently, around 900 U.S. troops are deployed in Syria, collaborating with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their battle against ISIS militants. The specific location of the drone incidents in Syria has not been disclosed, and further details regarding the operation remain undisclosed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about harassment

What happened between Russian fighter jets and American drones over Syria?

Russian fighter jets engaged in harassment of American drones over Syria, flying dangerously close and forcing the drones to take evasive maneuvers. The Air Force released a video showing the encounter.

How did the Russian fighter jets harass the American drones?

The Russian SU-35 fighter jets flew in close proximity to the American MQ-9 Reaper drones, deployed flares, and performed disruptive maneuvers. These actions endangered the safety of the drones and their operators.

Why were the American drones operating over Syria?

The American drones were on a mission against the Islamic State group in Syria. The exact details of the mission were not provided.

What are the concerns raised by the American military about this incident?

The American military officials expressed concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional behavior of the Russian military aircraft. They emphasized that such actions threaten the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and increase the risk of escalation or miscalculation.

How many U.S. forces are deployed in Syria?

Currently, there are approximately 900 U.S. forces deployed in Syria. They are working alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS militants.

What is the response from the U.S. military regarding this incident?

The U.S. military condemned the Russian military’s behavior and called for an end to such reckless actions. They urged the Russian forces to adhere to the standards expected of a professional air force to allow the focus to return to defeating ISIS.

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