US Claims Russian Jet Struck US Drone with a Flare in Syria

by | Jul 25, 2023

US Claims Russian Jet Struck US Drone with a Flare in Syria

by | Jul 25, 2023

screenshot 2023 07 06 140819

Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft close in on U.S. MQ-9 aircraft on July 5, 2023 over on July 5, 2023 over Syria. The Russian SU-35 fighter aircraft employed parachute flares in the flight path of U.S. MQ-9 aircraft

Washington says a Russian fighter jet deployed a flare that made contact with an American MQ-9 Drone in the skies above Syria over the weekend. The White House and Kremlin have traded accusations that the other is conducting dangerous operations in Syria during the past several months. 

Lieutenant General Alex Grynkewich, the head of US Air Forces Central, said on Tuesday, “One of the Russian flares struck the US MQ-9, severely damaging its propeller. Fortunately, the MQ-9 crew was able to maintain flight and safely recover the aircraft to its home base.”

Grynkewich went on to demand Russian forces deescalate. “We call upon the Russian forces in Syria to put an immediate end to this reckless, unprovoked, and unprofessional behavior,” he added. However, Moscow maintains that Washington is responsible for the confrontation in Syria. 

On Sunday, Oleg Gurinov, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, reported a Russian fighter jet had an incident with a drone. “Of special concern is a near-midair collision of a coalition’s MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle with Russian warplanes near al-Bab,” he said. “Russian pilots once again demonstrated high professionalism and took timely measures to prevent collisions with the coalition’s unmanned aerial vehicles.”

It is unclear if the American and Russian defense officials are speaking about the same encounter. Both countries have accused each of not following the deconfliction protocols for Syria and engaging in dangerous maneuvers. 

Moscow has asserted that American fighter jets operate in civilian flight paths, and US drones engaged Russian jets with their targeting systems. Washington claims Russian fighter jets have interfered with the flight paths of American spy planes and drones. 

The American and Russian militaries have both operated in Syria since 2015. To avoid aerial confrontations, Washington and Moscow maintained communication and deconfliction protocols. However, as the relationship between the White House and the Kremlin has crumbled over US support for Ukraine, tensions between American and Russian forces in Syria have escalated. 

About Kyle Anzalone

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

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