A Russian aircraft dropped flares in front of US drones and flew dangerously close, claimed US Central Command (CENTCOM) on Thursday, describing the act as unsafe and unprofessional.
The incident, captured in video footage, occurred in eastern Syria, where US drones were conducting missions as part of the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
According to a statement attributed to Lt Gen Alex Grynkewich, Commander of the 9th Air Force and Combined Forces Air Component Commander for CENTCOM, “Russian aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior, endangering the safety of all aircraft involved. This is the second instance of dangerous behavior within the past 24 hours.”
The video footage shows Russian SU-35 fighters deliberately crossing the flight path of American MQ-9 Reaper drones, forcing evasive manoeuvres. US Central Command has called on Russian forces in Syria to cease their ‘reckless’ behaviour and adhere to the expected standards of a professional air force.