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Russian Fighter Jets Fly ‘Intercept Attacks’ To Make Their Presence Felt By U.S. Predator Drones On At Least Three Times, U.S. Officials Reveal

by Diana Tomale / Oct 26, 2015 11:13 PM EDT
(Photo by: John Moore / Getty Images News) American pilots flying F-16s out of Turkey reported detected Russian fighter jets.

Two US officials revealed that Russian jets reportedly flown "intercept attacks" for at least three times already since Russia's air campaign started in Syria last week, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

Russia launched its first airstrikes on Wednesday, which reportedly aims to target the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter counters the statement after the Russian airstrikes reportedly struck locations which are not held by ISIS, CNN noted on Oct. 1.

"I want to be careful about confirming information, but it does appear that they (Russian airstrikes) were in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces," Carter said. "The result of this kind of action will inevitably, simply be to inflame the civil war in Syria."

Meanwhile, US Navy Captain Jeff Davis said they had to reroute a US aircraft to keep away from Russian fighter jet while flying over Syria.

"We have taken action to maintain safe separation," he said, noting that the US aircraft "changed path a little bit."

Officials say that the three encounters took place separately in Syria's de facto headquarters in Raqqa, near Kobani and in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria.

"The first time it happened, we thought the Russians got lucky. Then it happened two more times," an official revealed.

Another official said the "intercept attacks" were meant "to make their presence felt," adding that "the Russians flew very close, but did not impede the drone flight."

CBS News forecasted on Monday that the Russian fighter jets were reportedly detected by US pilots flying F-16s out of Turkey. The Russians were reportedly closed to within 20 miles, the closest they have been to remotely piloted aircraft.

"But to our manned aircraft they've not been closer than about 20 miles," said Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of the American air campaign.

He went on, "We're up a lot more often than [the Russians] are so when we do have to move around [them] for safe operation, it's for a small period of time compared to the hours and hours that we're airborne over Iraq and Syria."

Brown also adds that they plan to increase airstrikes against ISIS-controlled areas in Syria.

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