US-Russia dogfight narrowly avoided over Syria’s skies

Russian and US fighter jets found themselves in a tense standoff in Syria, after Russia bombed opposition forces allied with the US.

The incident occurred last week, while a group of about 200 rebels was fighting against ISIS near the border with Jordan. Russian SU-34 jets appeared during the course of the fighting and struck the rebels. In response, the Pentagon ordered its own F/A-18 fighter jets to the site.

The Russians cleared out when the newcomers arrived, but then attacked again when the F/A-18s left to refuel. The second wave of attacks killed a number of paramedics who were treating victims from the first strike.

An official statement from the Pentagon noted that "Russia's continued strikes at At-Tanf, even after US attempts to inform Russian forces through proper channels of ongoing coalition air support to the counter-ISIL forces, created safety concerns for US and coalition forces," using another name for ISIS.

"It’s an egregious act that must be explained," a U.S. official told the Los Angeles Times. "The Russian government either doesn't have control of its own forces or it was a deliberate provocative act. Either way, we’re looking for answers."

For its part, Russia denies that it intentionally hit US-backed rebels and says that the US is at fault for not warning Moscow about the rebels' location.

There are numerous competing factions in Syria. Russia supports dictator Bashar al-Assad and claims to be using its airstrikes to attack ISIS. Rebels, which oppose both Assad and ISIS, claim that many of the airstrikes are really used against opposition forces.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213867

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