USA jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

USA jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

USA jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

A defense official told CNN the aerial encounter lasted "several minutes".

American stealth fighter jets fired warning flares near Russian fighters over eastern Syria on Wednesday in an attempt to drive them out of airspace controlled by the US -led, anti-Islamic State coalition, Pentagon officials said.

The Pentagon said two Russian Su-25s flew into an area east of the Euphrates River on Wednesday when the two United States jets sent the warnings.

Coalition officers, during the recent interaction, called their Russian counterparts on a pre-established de-confliction hotline, which eventually led to the Russian evacuation of the area.

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Lt Col Damien Pickart, a spokesman for the US Air Forces Central Command, warned Russians planes crossing the dividing line could end in aircraft being shot down.

US fighter jets intercepted two Russian fighter jets on Thursday over Syria, according to multiple reports, signaling an escalation between Washington and Moscow over the war-torn nation.

Pickart was quick to point an accusing finger at the Russian pilots purporting to the fact that they were flying dangerously during the fatal encounter.

"One Su-25 flew close enough to an F-22A that it had to aggressively maneuver to avoid a midair collision", he said, adding that "during the incident, a Russian Su-35 also flew across the river and was shadowed closely by one of the F-22As".

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"The incident lasted approximately 40 minutes before the Russian aircraft flew to the west side of the river".

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to a Syrian air base that Russian forces had largely accomplished their goal in the country and ordered the beginning of a withdrawal.

During the encounter, coalition leaders contacted the Russians to try to ease the situation. Russia crossed the line near the Euphrates River six to eight times a day in late November, according to USA officials, which prompted concerns then that there could be a clash between U.S. and Russian forces. Since the agreement was made, the Russians have flown into coalition airspace six to eight times per day.

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