United States intercepts Russian fighter jets over Syria

Syria conflict: US says flares fired at Russian jets

Two US fighter jets on Wednesday fired warning flares after two Russian jets entered a buffer zone meant to keep Russian and US-led coalition forces operating over Syria apart.

The U.S. military said two F-22As fired flares in front of the Russian Su-25 jets that had crossed to the east side of the Euphrates.

The F-22s, the U.S.' most advanced fighter aside from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, were in the area providing air cover for partner ground forces conducting operations against the Islamic State, he said.

One official said that the aerial encounter lasted "several minutes", as the Russian jets crossed the de-confliction line several times.

The F-22 ended up trailing that Su-35 after it flew across the river into territory deemed unsafe to coalition aircraft.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight" before it was chased away, Konashenkov said.

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The move is the latest in a series of incidents in which US fighters have flown close to Russian warplanes over Syria.

The U.S. and Russia verbally agreed in early November that Russian aircraft would stay west of the Euphrates and American jets would stay east.

But the US Air Force denies the incident ever happened and says it likely came in response to a critical article in The New York Times.

The ministry stressed that the incident occurred above the western bank of the Euphrates River, dismissing media reports that the Russian planes were allegedly operating over the eastern bank.

A pair of United States warplanes intercepted two Russian Federation jets over a part of Syria they were not supposed to be operating in, the Pentagon said Thursday. Coalition leaders also contacted Russians on the ground along the deconfliction line. "It's become increasingly tough for our pilots to discern whether Russian pilots' actions are deliberate or if these are just honest mistakes".

But the US Air Force categorically denies the incident, saying in a statement that deconfliction phone line transcripts show Russian Federation never called about the incident and that Coalition flight logs have no record of any US cross overs without informing Russian Federation first.

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