Skies Over Syria

Source: RT News

Russian Su-35 chased away rogue US F-22 jet: MoD blasts US Air Force for hampering Syria op

December 9, 2017

FILE PHOTO [above]: A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber lands at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria © Vasily Maximov / AFP

A Russian interceptor has been scrambled to stop a rogue US fighter jet from actively interfering with an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It also accused the US of provoking close encounters with the Russian jets in Syria.

A US F-22 fighter was preventing two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) base to the west of the Euphrates November 23, according to the ministry. The ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov described the episode as yet another example of US aircraft attempts to prevent Russian forces from carrying out strikes against Islamic State.

The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight,” Konashenkov said. He added that the US jet ceased its dangerous maneuvers only after a Russian Su-35S fighter jet joined the two strike planes.

The major general went on to say that “most close-midair encounters between Russian and US jets in the area around the Euphrates River have been linked to the attempts of US aircraft to get in the way [of the Russian warplanes] striking against Islamic State terrorists.” He also said that the US military officials provided no explanation for the November 23 incident as well as other, similar encounters.

The statement came as a response to the Pentagon’s claims about “an increase in unsafe behavior” by Russian warplanes. “We saw anywhere from six to eight incidents daily in late November, where Russian or Syrian aircraft crossed into our airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River,” Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, the spokesman for US Air Force Central Command, told CNN earlier on Saturday.

Konashenkov said that any claims made by US military officials concerning the fact that there is “any part of the airspace in Syria that belongs to the US” are “puzzling.” Konashenkov also said that “Syria is a sovereign state and a UN member and that means that there… can be no US airspace ‘of its own.’ Unlike the Russian Air Force, the US-led coalition is operating in Syria without any legal basis,” he added.

Pickart also said that the US’ “greatest concern is that we could shoot down a Russian aircraft because its actions are seen as a threat to our air or ground forces.” Earlier, he also told the New York Times that it has become “increasingly tough for our [US] pilots to discern whether Russian pilots are deliberately testing or baiting us into reacting, or if these are just honest mistakes.”

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Source: Inside Syria Media Center

Fight in the Skies of Deir-Ezzor

by S. Mangal from ISMC • December 9, 2017

US Air Forces Central Command, Russian/Syrian aircraft crossed a de-confliction line into coalition airspace east of the Euphrates River 6-8 times a day in late November. “The greatest concern is that we could shoot down these aircraft because of their actions are seen as a threat” to coalition forces, the source claimed recently together with CNN.

In turn, Assad’s allies announced that most of the rapprochement between Russian/Syrian and U.S.-led coalition aircraft in the vicinity of the Euphrates River Valley in Syria was associated with the attempts by U.S. aircraft to deliberately interfere with the destruction of ISIS terrorists.

It should be mentioned that while the Syrian Air Force accompanied by Russian air assets were eliminating ISIS strongholds in the suburbs in the city of al-Mayadin during the Deir-Ezzor campaign, U.S. F-22 aircraft were carrying out ‘flare ejection altitude’ (releasing several decoy flares) and speed brake deployment maneuvering in Syrian airspace and simulating aerial combat.

It seems a fight in the skies of Deir Ezzor is here to stay and the Memorandum on Flight Safety in Syria won’t help to pacify U.S. naked ambitions and continuing determination at attempting to dominate the skies over Syria. In the meantime, the legal basis for essentially US ‘coalition’ presence in Syria can’t be demonstrated. According international law, there is no U.S.-led coalition airspace over Syria. Apparently, the Pentagon has determined that there would be no point in upholding international law regarding Syria’s airspace because the U.S. would be unable to benefit by deploying airpower.

CNN statements have already raised a storm of indignation by Syrians. Many Syrians are trying to ask themselves what exactly are these “coalition forces” doing in Syria. It is obvious to them that these are “US invasion forces operating with impunity.” The parallels between the U.S. and Israeli aircraft over Syria are becoming clear: Israel flying over Syrian airspace regularly infringing on sovereign Syrian airspace. Syrians are concerned that there is no reason or excuse for this continued US-led aerial threat over Syrian airspace. And further more, no one from the Western countries calls for the destruction of Israeli aircraft in their continued attacks on Syria over the years. A number of Syrian residents, according to an opinion poll conducted by Inside Syria Media Center via social media, have even joked that “Russia was too busy killing ISIS terrorists that the U.S. allowed to leave from Raqqa, and that is why Russian/Syrian aircraft didn’t notice the U.S. F-22 aircraft.”

Recent events over the skies of Deir Ezzor, Syria should lead the international community to reflect further on this confrontation between Russia and the U.S. Russia has been invited into Syria which is legal under international law into Syria, a sovereign country also adhering to the framework of international law. On the contrary, the U.S. Army is located in Syria (there are also an unspecified number of PMCs operating inside Syria) without approval or decision made by the U.S. Congress which the only has the power to declare war without a UN mandate.

Follow the latest developments in Syria by reading Inside Syria Media Center.


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