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Russian Fighter Jet Hits American Drone with Flare for a Second Time in a Week

by | Jul 26, 2023

Russian Fighter Jet Hits American Drone with Flare for a Second Time in a Week

by | Jul 26, 2023

syria su35 reaper

For the second time in a week, unnamed American officials say a US drone was struck with a flare dropped by a Russian jet in Syrian airspace. During recent months, American and Russian aircraft have increasingly engaged in hostile encounters in Syrian skies. 

The AP reported two unnamed American officials said the drone was struck by the flare on Wednesday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not confirm the drone was hit, but she did say the American aircraft was engaged in a close encounter with a Russian plane. “We’ve seen the reports, the early reports, of a second Russian fighter aircraft this week flying dangerously close to our drone,” she said. 

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense reported an MQ-9 drone’s propeller was hit by a Russian flare over the weekend. The Kremlin said the American unmanned aerial vehicle nearly caused a collision with the Russian fighter jet. 

Moscow claims US drones have activated their targeting systems on Russian aircraft in Syria. Additionally, Russian military officials say American aircraft operate in civilian air traffic lanes, endangering those flights. 

The US states Wednesday’s flare strike was the sixth incident with a Russian aircraft this month. Washington asserts that Russian fighter jets have flown directly in front of American drones and spy planes, creating unsafe flying conditions. 

The Russian military entered Syria in 2015, at the invitation of President Bashar al-Assad, to help Damascus defeat a variety of jihadist groups that received substantial support from Washington and its allies. The US occupies about a third of the war-torn country under the pretext of ensuring the Islamic State’s defeat and defending the Syrian Kurds from Turkey, America’s NATO ally. 

Throughout the Syrian War, the American and Russian militaries managed to avoid aggressive aerial confrontations using deconfliction protocols and communication. However, because of US military support for Kiev, the relationship between the White House and the Kremlin has broken down.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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