US jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

US Russia each claim other’s jets cross ‘de-confliction’ line in Syria without notice

US jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

Two U.S. F-22 jets reportedly fired warning flares after two Russian fighter jets flew east of the Euphrates River, which has been designated as a de-confliction line.

Two F-22A Raptors came into contact with two Russian Su-25s as they crossed into coordinated coalition airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River, which is located near Abu Kamal in Syria.

One of the Russian planes flew so close to a USA jet that the two aircraft almost collided, said the spokesman.

A Su-35 fighter jet, which provided cover for the Russian planes, "rapidly approached" the F-22 from the rear and the USA warplane left the area afterward, the ministry added. The incident also involved at least one Russian Su-35 fighter jet, CNN reported, citing an unidentified U.S. military official.

The F-22 ended up trailing that Su-35 after it flew across the river into territory deemed unsafe to coalition aircraft.

One of the USA pilots also performed an aggressive maneuver to avoid a midair collision, said Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman. "Since agreeing to this de-confliction arrangement, the Russians have flown into our airspace on the east side of the river 6-8 times per day, or approximately 10% of the Russian and Syrian flights", Pickart said.

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In fact, however, Russia's military has sought to bolster the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, while USA forces have backed antigovernment rebels and Kurdish and Arab militias that have battled IS fighters. After 40 minutes, the Russians flew back to the west side of the Euphrates.

At the weekend Russian official Igor Konashenkov said he was bewildered the United States had staked a claim over part of Syria's air space and accused the US-led coalition of "operating in Syria illegally". However, he said, the coalition would defend itself or SDF fighters if they were threatened.

A Russian Su-25 ground attack jet takes off at Hemeimeem Air Base in Syria on March 16, 2016.

"The greatest concern is that we could shoot down a Russian aircraft because its actions are seen as a threat to our ground forces", he told CNN last week.

According to RT, the US and Russian Federation established the de-confliction channel in 2015 as part of a "flight safety memorandum" in Syria.

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