Russian Aircraft Force U.S. Planes Off Mission over ISIS ‘Capital’ Raqqa
The Pentagon revealed this week that U.S. warplanes in Syria changed their course to avoid a collision with Russian warplanes. The planes took off from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Due to Russia inching closer to Turkey, NATO’s chief said the organization has to be ready to protect the country.
“We have taken some actions to ensure the safe separation of aircraft, but we do continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria in support of this mission to degrade and destroy [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria],” explained Navy Captain Jeff Davis.
Davis could not provide specific details about the diversion, other than that the planes could not complete their mission in Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) caliphate.
The U.S. told their pilots “to change their flight path if there is a Russian plane within 20 nautical miles.”
Earlier this week, Lt. Gen. Charles Brown told CBS that Russian aircraft flew extremely close to U.S. aircraft in Syria. Russian planes also violated NATO-member Turkey’s airspace at least twice.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced it is ready to defend Turkey from Russian aggression.
“All of this sends a clear message to all NATO citizens. NATO will defend you, NATO is on the ground, NATO is ready,” he declared.