Russian fighter jet flies dangerously close to US warplane over Syria

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A Russian fighter jet has flown dangerously close to a US surveillance warplane over Syria, endangering the lives of four Americans.

The dramatic encounter on Sunday follows a string of clashes between US and Russian aircrafts in Syria in recent weeks.

According to US officials, the interception impeded the crew’s ability to safely operate their MC-12 recon plane and was a “new level of unsafe behavior that could result in accident or loss of life”.

The US MC-12 recon plane had been doing surveillance in support of operations against the Islamic State groups in Syria when the Russian SU-35 fighter jet forced it into a turbulent wake, the officials said.

A growing cooperation between Moscow, Tehran and the Syrian government to pressure the US out of Syria has caused growing tensions since March.

Several times in the past two weeks, Russian fighter jets flew dangerously close to US drones, setting off flares and forcing them into evasive maneuvers.

Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, head of US Air Forces Central Command, said in a statement at the time: “We urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS.”

The Lt. Gen. also described the actions as “unsafe and unprofessional”.

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During these close encounters, US and Russian military officers communicate frequently through a deconfliction phone line to protest the other side’s actions.

According to a senior defense official, the US is considering a number of military options to address increasing Russian aggression over the skies in Syria.

This plan complicated efforts to strike an Islamic State group leader earlier this month, but the US was able to launch a strike and kill the militant.

Americans troops have been in the war-torn country since 2015, with around 900 US troops remaining as the US continues its battle with ISIS.

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A senior defense official told reporters earlier this month that Iran and Russia were working together to force US troops out of the country.

The growing relationship between Iran and Russia has developed throughout Russia’s war in Ukraine, with Iran accused of sending Russia weapons for their invasion.

The official also said the US will not cede any territory and will continue to fly in the country on anti-Islamic State missions.

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