Russia announces US air protocol violation over Syria

A Russian warplane during takeoff - (Russian Ministry of Defense)

A Russian warplane during takeoff - (Russian Ministry of Defense)


Russia announced that an American “Typhoon” fighter jet approached one of its aircraft “dangerously” over the skies of Syria, marking the first incident Russia has announced since halting air traffic coordination with the United States.

The Deputy Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, Major General Yuri Popov, stated that an International Coalition Typhoon fighter jet approached a Russian “An-30” aircraft “dangerously” over the sky of Homs in central Syria, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday, July 4.

The incident occurred on the morning of Wednesday, July 3, but Russia announced it in a briefing by Popov via video on Thursday, a day after the incident and its announcement of halting coordination with the United States.

The Russian pilot managed to avoid the collision and “immediately took the necessary actions to prevent the collision, demonstrating high professionalism,” according to Popov.

Popov accused the International Coalition led by the United States of regularly violating deconfliction protocols related to drone flights that are not coordinated with Russia.

The United States and the leadership of the International Coalition in Syria have not commented on the incident at the time of reporting, nor have they commented on Russia’s announcement of suspending communications.

On June 27, an American “MQ-9 Reaper” drone flew close to a Russian aircraft over the skies of the village of al-Sukhna, east of Homs, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center.

First incident after suspending coordination

Russia stopped coordinating air traffic communication with the United States over Syria on Wednesday, July 3.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov justified the suspension of coordination because of a series of incidents that involved dangerous confrontations between American drones and Russian aircraft over Syria.

In contrast, the United States frequently criticizes a series of incidents, accusing Russian pilots of engaging in “dangerous and unprofessional behavior” in front of American fighter jets and drones.

The United States refuses to stop aerial sorties of its fighter jets and drones in northwestern Syria for missions against the Islamic State group and complains about the actions of Russian forces in the area that obstruct targeting the group’s leaders.

The United States has about 900 soldiers in Syria aimed at fighting the Islamic State organization, with the support of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to their officials’ statements.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are spread across various parts of Syrian geography, having intervened alongside the regime in September 2015, with their forces primarily concentrated on the Syrian coast in addition to other bases at Qamishli Airport in northeastern Syria and other areas.


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