Tensions Rise with Russian Aggression in Syria

According to the U.S. general in charge of air operations, armed Russian jets have flown over a U.S. military garrison in Syria just about every day in March. This action violates a 4-year-old agreement between the U.S. and Russia. 

Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich said that Russian jets had violated the airspace roughly 25 times. The Russian aircraft include Su-34 jets, with some aircraft carrying air-to-air weapons and others carrying air-to-ground munitions; weapons include radar-guided and heat-seeking missiles and bombs.  

Grynkewich said he does not believe the Russians are incentivized to use weapons against the U.S. military in Syria. “But it just increases the risk of miscalculation, and given things like the MQ-9 incident in the Black Sea, it is not the kind of behavior that I would expect out of a professional Air Force.” 

Notably, Grynkewich said the Russians could potentially be taking a more aggressive stance to put pressure on the U.S. military presence in Syria. 

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