US condemns 'unsafe' Russian flying over Syria

AFP , Tuesday 18 Jul 2023

A Russian warplane closely approached an American MC-12 reconnaissance aircraft over Syria, a US commander said Tuesday, describing it as an "unsafe" action that put the US crew at risk.

A Russian SU-35 flies near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone on July 5, 2023, over Syria.
A Russian SU-35 flies near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone on July 5, 2023, over Syria.

 

This was the latest in a series of interactions between Russian and American aircraft over Syria to draw criticism from the United States, which is carrying out operations against the Islamic State group in the country as part of an international coalition.

On Saturday, "a US MC-12... conducting operations in support of the Coalition's Defeat ISIS mission was closely approached by a Russian Su-35 against established norms and protocols," Air Force Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich said in a statement, using an acronym for the jihadist group.

The US plane was forced "to fly through its wake turbulence. This reduced the crew's ability to safely operate the aircraft and put the four crew members' lives at risk," Grynkewich said, adding that this represents "a new level of unsafe and unprofessional actions by Russian aircraft operating in Syria."

Earlier this month, the United States said Russian aircraft harassed American MQ-9 drones over Syria on two occasions within 24 hours, including by dropping flares in front of them.

And in March, the United States said a Russian jet clipped the propeller of a drone operating over the Black Sea, causing it to crash. Moscow denied it was responsible.

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