The non-sense continues in the skies over Syria. A new report from CNN tells the story of yet another close encounter between US and Russian aircraft.
According to the report, Russian Sukhoi Su-24s were bombing US-backed Syrian rebels, allegedly with 500-pound bombs and cluster munitions. Armed US Navy F/A-18 Hornets were diverted to the area after two rounds of strikes, but the Russians ignored their hails, which came on a mutually agreed upon, pilot-to-pilot frequency. When the US fighters left the area to refuel, the Russian aircraft went back to bombing the rebel positions.
US officials issued a stern takedown of the incident.
"Here's a case where they actually attacked forces that were fighting ISIL. And if that was their intention, that's the opposite of what they said they were going to do," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told CNN. If not, then it says something about the quality of the information upon which they make airstrikes."
"Department officials expressed strong concerns about the attack on the coalition-supported counter-ISIL forces at the At-Tanf garrison, which included forces that are participants in the cessation of hostilities in Syria, and emphasized that those concerns would be addressed through ongoing diplomatic discussions on the cessation of hostilities," Peter Cook, the Pentagon's press secretary, told reporters over the weekend.
For its part, Russia denied that its targeted US-backed Syrians, and said it had "forewarned member states of the US-led coalition about the ground targets to strike on."
"The object which had suffered bombardment was located more than 300 km far from borders of territories claimed by the American party as ones controlled by the opposition joined the ceasefire regime," the Russian Ministry Defense told CNN in a statement.
Tensions between the US and its allies and Russia have been on the rise all year. This is far from the first air-to-air encounter between the two sides, which usually comes in the form of Russian aircraft flying near sovereign airspace with their transponders switched off.