Things Getting Tense Between US, Russia in Syrian Airspace

US fighter jets forced to reroute to avoid Russian aircraft
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2015 6:08 PM CDT
Things Getting Tense Between US, Russia in Syrian Airspace
A Russian aircraft over Syria forced two US fighter jets to reroute, scuttling their mission, sometime in the past few days, according to the Pentagon.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

A Russian military aircraft was too close for comfort in the skies above Syria, forcing two US F-16s to move out of the way and scuttling their mission, CNN reports. The Pentagon made the announcement Wednesday but would only say the incident occurred in the past few days. All US pilots have been warned to keep 20 nautical miles away from any Russian plane over Syria. With Russia beginning airstrikes in country Wednesday, NBC News states there is "the greatest threat of an accidental clash between Russian and Western forces since the Cold War." According to the network, it's the first time Russian and US military aircraft are flying combat missions over the same country since WWII.

CNN reports the F-16s were on their way from Turkey to a location near an ISIS stronghold, but the mission had to be called off after the Russian plane forced them to divert. The US and Russia are still working on coming up with mutual rules for flight safety over Syria. According to USA Today, the Pentagon met with Russia about flight rules last Thursday but are still waiting on a second meeting. "We will keep the channel open because it's a matter of safety and security for our pilots," Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis says. CNN reports Russia has a history of intercepting US aircraft, and the Pentagon wants to be extra cautious until mutual rules are in place. (More Syria stories.)

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