U.S. Air Forces Central reported that on July 23 “Russian fighter aircraft flew dangerously close to a U.S. MQ-9 drone on a defeat-ISIS mission… One of the Russian flares struck the U.S. MQ-9, severely damaging its propeller. Fortunately, the MQ-9 crew was able to maintain flight and safely recover the aircraft to its home base”. It further urged “the Russian forces in Syria to put an immediate end to this reckless, unprovoked and unprofessional behaviour”. The following day, a White House spokesperson indicated that “we’ve seen the early reports of a second Russian fighter aircraft this week flying dangerously close to our drone on a defeat ISIS mission… Russia’s close approach to and deployment of flares over U.S. drones during a routine mission against ISIS targets indeed violates established protocols and international norms”.
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