US bases in Syria harassed by ‘provocative’ armed Russian fighter jets

Russian Air Force Su-25
Fedor Leukhin / Wikimedia Commons

US Central Command has spoken of an increase in “provocative” behaviour by armed Russian fighter jets flying over US bases in Syria. 

General Michael Kurilla, while appearing at Senate Committee on Armed Services March 17, 2023, said troops were witnessing “unsafe” flying by the Russian air force. 

According to Gen. Kurilla there has been a rise in the number of occasions Russian jets have passed by the Syrian bases since March 1, 2023. 

“What we are seeing, though, is an increase recently in the unprofessional and unsafe behavior of the Russian Air Force in the region,” Kurilla told the committee. 

Gen. Kurilla admitted that while the Russian aggression is not “new”, there is a “significant spike” in the number of occasions.   

“They fly over our bases with ground attack aircraft with weapons on them in an attempt to try and be provocative. But really, it’s unsafe, unprofessional, not what we expect of a professional air force,” Gen Kurilla added.  

According to CNN, the US has around 900 troops stationed across two different bases in Syria, as part of its campaign against ISIS. 

The US and Russia have a deconfliction line to prevent any accidental escalations or confusion between forces. 

“Russia want to try and renegotiate the deconfliction protocols that they violate every day,” Gen. Kurila explained to the committee. 

The committee was held on the same day that the US Air Force shared footage of a Russian fighter jet crashing into a US drone over the Black Sea.  

The footage seemingly confirmed the events previously reported by the US European Command, namely that a Su-27 aircraft was performing a close pass near the drone and dumping fuel onto it.  

Another pass resulted in a collision, damaging the drone’s propeller and eventually causing it to crash into international waters.   

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