Russian fighter jets harass American drones in Syria for second consecutive day
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Pentagon officials reported that Russian fighter jets once again harassed American military drones over eastern Syria, engaging in provocative actions. 

Drones were endangered by parachute-borne flares dropped into their flight paths. Despite Russia’s repeated refusals to cease this risky behavior, the US military strongly condemned these acts, calling them “unsafe and unprofessional.”

This is yet another example of unprofessional and unsafe actions by Russian air forces operating in Syria, which pose a threat to both Coalition and Russian forces’ safety. 

In order to continue our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS, we urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and follow the standards expected of professional air forces.”

During a mission against ISIS targets in Syria, the MQ-9 Reaper drone was involved in the incidents. In an apparent attempt to hit the drone, Russian fighter jets dropped flares, forcing the drone to take evasive action to avoid a collision. In video footage captured by the drone’s camera, the Russian Su-35 fighter jets position themselves in front of the drone before releasing flares.

Russian military actions in Syria have increasingly violated established deconfliction protocols, including flying too close to US military bases and failing to communicate through the deconfliction line. The incidents have raised concerns about the safety of all aircraft operating in the region and the possibility of unintended escalation.

“We urge the Russian forces to cease their reckless behavior and behave like professional airmen,” said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon spokesman.

In Syria, tensions have been ongoing between the United States and Russia, both of which pursue different objectives. In the fight against ISIS, the US is a member of the international coalition, while Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Due to the presence of both forces, a deconfliction hotline has been implemented to avoid accidental clashes.

An incident in which a Russian fighter collided with a US drone and crashed into the Black Sea highlights the legitimate safety concerns arising from such unsafe and unprofessional interactions between aircraft.

Conflict between Russia and the United States in Middle East airspace raises significant concerns and underscores the importance of restraint. In order to maintain stability in the region, both sides must prioritize the safety of their military personnel.