US Fighters Chase Off Russian Jets Over Eastern Syria

Two US warplanes in Syria were forced to divert from supporting ground operations against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on Thursday to intercept Russian jets that crossed into coalition airspace.

The F-22 stealth fighters  fired warning flares at the Russian Su-25 close-air support jets. During the incident, one of the F-22s also was forced to perform a risky maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision with one of the Su-25s. The dangerous standoff reportedly lasted around 40 minutes and concluded after one of the F-22s shadowed one of the Russian planes.

Su25

The Russian jets "were promptly intercepted by two F-22A Raptors providing air cover for partner ground forces conducting operations to defeat ISIS," according to what Air Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told CNN. 

"The F-22s conducted multiple maneuvers to persuade the Su-25s to depart our de-conflicted airspace, including the release of chaff and flares in close proximity to the Russian aircraft and placing multiple calls on the emergency channel to convey to the Russian pilots that they needed to depart the area," he added.

In November, the US and Russia agreed to a clear deconfliction line along the Euphrates River. The agreement stipulated Russia would not fly east of the river, while the US agreed not to fly west. But the Russians have reportedly flown into US controlled airspace six to eight times per day.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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