The Russian military is increasingly harassing United States service members in Syria by buzzing their locations with armed ground attack aircraft, raising concerns of miscalculation and unintended escalation.
According to Gen. Michael ‘Eric’ Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, the Russian military is increasingly harassing U.S. service members in Syria by flying over their bases with ground attack aircraft with weapons on them in an attempt to provoke them. Kurilla singled out the Russian air force, saying that this behavior is not what is expected from a professional air force. This spike in incidents is part of a troubling trend where Russian aircraft are violating deconfliction arrangements with U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria aimed at preventing inadvertent collisions or clashes. U.S. commanders have protested to their Russian counterparts about this behavior. There are concerns that if this behavior escalates into an outright clash, it could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.