The U.S. Military said on Wednesday that Russian Fighter Jets harassed American aircraft in Syria while they were on an anti-ISIS mission.
“Earlier today at approximately 10:40 AM, Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behaviour while interacting with U.S. aircraft in Syria,” said Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the U.S. general responsible for air operations in the Middle East.
The conduct “threaten[s] the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces,” he said.
The incident on Wednesday is the most recent in a series of dozens of flights that the United States sent F-22 Raptors to intercept over American military locations in eastern Syria after they were deemed provocative by Russian officials.
The American drones were forced to make evasive manoeuvres after being hit by many parachute flares dropped by the Russian jets in front of them.
Erik Kurilla, commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), criticised Russia for its persistently risky and unprofessional actions. He warned in a statement that “their consistent violation of agreed-upon airspace deconfliction measures increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation.
Last month, the U.S. moved F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base to the Middle East owing to Russian aircraft’s increasingly hazardous and unprofessional actions.
U.S. officials described the move as violating the existing protocol signed between them.
“Against established norms and protocols, the Russian jets dropped multiple parachute flares in front of the drones, forcing our aircraft to conduct evasive manoeuvres,” Grynkewich said.
Russia is still trying to draw the U.S. into a dogfight over the skies of Syria, according to Lt. Gen. Grynkewich.