The U.S. military released a new video on Wednesday showing Russian fighter jets flying dangerously close to multiple American drone aircraft carrying out a mission in Syria against the ISIS terrorist group.
In a statement on July 5, the U.S. Air Forces Central described the tense encounter as “unsafe and unprofessional behavior” by Russian airmen interacting with the U.S. military operating in Syria.
Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, commander of the 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East, said that three U.S. drones were operating over Syria on July 5 at 10:30 a.m. local time during a mission against ISIS when “three Russian fighter jets began harassing the drones.”
“Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior while interacting with U.S. aircraft in Syria,” Lt. Gen. Grynkewich said. “While three U.S. MQ-9 drones were conducting a mission against ISIS targets, three Russian fighter jets began harassing the drones.”
In the video, a Russian SU-35 fighter can be seen closing in on the MQ-9 Reapers, later also showing a number of so-called parachute flares moving into the drone’s flight path. The flares, which are attached to parachutes, prompted operators of the MQ-9 Reapers to take evasive maneuvers.