Russian Jet Fires at U.S. Drone, Interferes with ISIS Operation

( – US military forces in Syria continue to clash with ISIS militants despite previous declarations that American troops defeated the Islamist terrorist organization. Unfortunately, a recent report indicates that Russian elements are continuing their long-standing practice of interfering with operations throughout the region.

On July 25, the US Air Forces Central (9th Air Force) issued a press release announcing that a Russian fighter jet interfered with the flight of a US-operated General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone flying in Syrian airspace on a “defeat-ISIS” operation. The aircraft fired flares within a few yards of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from an overhead position.

One of those flares struck the rear section of the drone, causing severe damage to the propeller of its single-shaft turboprop engine. The statement noted that “fortunately,” the Reaper’s remote crew maintained flight stability throughout the incident and was able to return the UAV to its home base.

Ninth Air Force Commander and head of CENTCOM’s Combined Forces Air Component, Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, spoke out about the incident, stating that the Russian aircraft’s “blatant disregard” for flight norms “detracts” from America’s mission to secure the “enduring defeat of ISIS.” He also called on Russian forces to cease and desist their unprovoked, reckless, and unprofessional actions immediately.

On July 26, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke briefly about the incident during her daily press briefing. Jon Decker, the senior national editor for Gray Television, asked how administration officials classified the situation and whether they conducted any outreach to their Russian counterparts.

Jean-Pierre said White House officials were aware of the incident, adding that Russia’s actions violated “established protocols and international norms.” She also confirmed that the administration remains focused on the ongoing mission to defeat ISIS, pointing to a recent strike against an ISIS leader.

On July 9, the US Central Command announced that an airstrike in Eastern Syria resulted in the death of an ISIS leader named Usamah al-Mujajir. Coincidentally (or not), Reaper drones successfully carried out that mission.

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