WASHINGTON — Two U.S. F-22 Raptors intercepted and fired warning flares at two Russian Su-25s over the tightly congested air space in Syria along the Euphrates River on Wednesday.
The Russian fighters had crossed an agreed upon deconfliction line that runs parallel with the Euphrates River. The U.S. and its Syrian partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, operate on the eastern side of the Euphrates, and it’s a region Russia and its Syrian regime allies are supposed to steer clear from.
“On December 13, two Russian Su-25s flew into coordinated Coalition airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River near Abu Kamal, Syria, and were promptly intercepted by two F-22A Raptors providing air cover for partner ground forces conducting operations to defeat ISIS,” said Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
The F-22s conducted maneuvers and fired warning flares and chaff to convince the pair of Russian fighters to leave the deconflicted airspace, he said.
“At one point, one Su-25 flew close enough to an F-22A that it had to aggressively maneuver to avoid a midair collision,” Pickart said. “During the incident, a Russian Su-35 also flew across the river and was shadowed closely by one of the F-22As.”
The incident lasted nearly 40 minutes and the Russian aircraft eventually flew back to the west side of the river.
First on CNN: Two US defense officials tell me that 2 US F-22 jets intercepted 2 Russian Su-25 jets over Syria, Wednesday, firing warning flares after the Su-25s crossed the agreed upon de-conflciiton line, flying east of the Euphrates River multiple times. A Su-35 also present
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) December 14, 2017