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Russian jets continue harassing US drones over Syria

Russian military SU-34 and SU-35 aircraft employ flares in the flight path of a US MQ-9 aircraft on July 6, 2023 over Syria. Photo: US AFCENT

United States Air Force drones operating in Syria were once again subjected to hostile actions by Russian fighter jets within a span of 24 hours, as stated by Pentagon.

At approximately 9:30 A.M. local time on Thursday, Russian military aircraft engaged in “unsafe and unprofessional” conduct during their interaction with US MQ-9 drones conducting the D-ISIS mission in Syria.

A recently published video showcased a Russian Su-35 fighter jet engaging in perilously close flights and deploying flares in the vicinity of multiple US drones. This video was made public one day subsequent to the release of similar footage by the US military on Wednesday.

The initial incident took place on Wednesday at around 10:40 A.M. local time, during which Russian jets released parachute flares at the drones and flew in dangerously close proximity.

Additionally, one Russian pilot positioned their aircraft in front of an MQ-9 and engaged the afterburner, thereby reducing the US operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft. As a result, US pilots were compelled to execute evasive maneuvers to ensure their safety.

“Russian aircraft dropped flares in front of the drones and flew dangerously close, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved,” Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the top USAF commander in the Middle East, said in a statement about Thursday’s incident.

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

“We urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS,” he added.