Fight in the Skies of Deir-Ezzor. Danger of US-Russia Confrontation in Syria’s Airspace

US Air Forces Central Command, Russian/Syrian aircraft crossed a de-confliction line into coalition airspace east of the Euphrates River 6-8 times a day in late November. “The greatest concern is that we could shoot down these aircraft because of their actions are seen as a threat” to coalition forces, the source claimed recently together with CNN.

In turn, Assad’s allies announced that most of the rapprochement between Russian/Syrian and U.S.-led coalition’ aircraft in the vicinity of the Euphrates River valley in Syria was associated with the attempts of the U.S. aircraft to interfere with the destruction of ISIS terrorists.

To be mentioned is that while the Syrian AF accompanied by the Russian side were eliminating ISIS stronghold in the suburbs of the city of al-Mayadin during the Deir-Ezzor campaign, U.S. F-22 aircraft was carrying out ‘flare ejection altitude’ (were releasing several decoy flares) and speed brake deployment maneuvering in airspace and simulating an air fight.

It seems a fight in the skies of Deir Ezzor is here to stay and the Memorandum on Flight Safety in Syria won’t help to pacify U.S. naked ambitions and ruthless determination to dominate in the skies over Syria. In the meantime, the legal basis for ‘coalition’ presence in Syria can’t be demonstrated. According to the international law, there is no U.S.-led coalition’s airspace in Syria. Apparently, the Pentagon had considered that there would be no point in following the international law regarding Syria’s airspace because the U.S. would be unable to benefit by its jets.

CNN statements have already raised a storm of indignation. Many Syrians are asking what are these “coalition forces” really doing in Syria and call them “USA invasion forces.” Some people draw parallels between the U.S. and Israeli Air Force planes as well as their missiles which regularly infringe sovereign Syrian airspace.

Syrians are concerned that there is no reason and excuse for these occurrences.  A number of residents, according to the opinion poll made by Inside Syria Media Center via social media, even joked that ‘Russia was too busy killing the terrorists that the U.S. allowed to escape from Raqqa” (documented by a BBC report), that is why Russian/Syrian aircraft hadn’t notice the U.S. F-22 jets.

Recent events in the Skies over Deir Ezzor should lead the international community to reflect further on that issue.

Russia is in Syria under an agreement with the Syrian government and operates within the framework of international law. In contrast, U.S. military presence in Syria is neither endorsed by a decision of the U.S. Congress nor does it have a mandate from the UN Security Council.

Follow the latest developments by reading Inside Syria Media Center where this article was originally published.

Sophie Mangal is a special investigative correspondent at Inside Syria Media Center.

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Articles by: Sophie Mangal

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