Russian Jets Harassing American Drones Over Syria Seen in New Aerial Footage

Objectivity 4.8 | Credibility 4.8 | Relevance 4.7

The U.S. Air Force has released a video which shows Russian SU-35 “Flanker” fighter jets flying dangerously close to three American  MQ-9 Reaper drones operating over Syria against Islamic State terrorists.  In one part of the video, the Russian jets released parachute flares in the path of one of the Reapers, forcing it to undertake evasive maneuvers. At another point, one of the Flankers moved in front of one of the drones and engaged the fighter’s afterburner, greatly changing the air pressure in front of the drone and impeded the operator’s ability to safely fly the drone.  Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, commander of 9th Air Force in the Middle East said, “Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior while interacting with U.S. aircraft in Syria.”  Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, said that the Russian pilots’ actions “increases the risk of escalation or miscalculation.”