Syrian Su-24s attempting to fly close to U.S. Special Forces in Syria get intercepted and “encouraged to leave” by F-22 Raptors

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly in formation during a training mission, Dec. 6, 2009. The F-22 fighters and crews are deployed from the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and in the Air Forces Central area of responsibility for the first time as part of a multinational exercise where aircrews from France, Jordan, Pakistan, the U.A.E., the U.K., and the U.S. trained together in fighting a large-scale air war. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller)

Two Syrian Su-24 Fencer attempting to fly over a Kurdish-held area in northeastern Syria where U.S. SOF (Special Operations Forces) are operating, get intercepted by U.S. F-22 and encouraged to depart the airspace.

Twice in the last few days, Syrian jets performing air strikes close to where U.S. SOF are operating in northeastern Syria caused coalition aircraft to scramble.

On Aug. 18, U.S. jets were dispatched to intercept the Syrian attack planes that were attacking targets near Hasakah supporting regime forces fighting the Syrian Kurdish forces. About 300 U.S. military operate in the same area, training Kurdish forces who are fighting Daesh.

Syrian pilots did not respond to the radio calls of the Kurdish on the general emergency frequency nor did they acknowledge calls attempted by the coalition on the air safety channel used for communication with the Russian aircraft operating over Syria.

Anyway, by the time U.S. fighters reached the area, the Syrian planes had already left.

Following the first “close encounter” the Pentagon warned Assad regime to not fly or conduct raids in the area where the American SOF are operating. However, on Aug. 19, two Su-24 Fencers, attempted again to penetrate the airspace near Hasakah.

This time, the two Syrian Arab Air Force attack planes were met by American F-22 Raptors (most probably already operating in the same area providing Combat Air Patrol).

As reported by ABC, a U.S. official said the presence of American F-22 aircraft “encouraged the Syrian aircraft to depart the airspace without further incident. No weapons were fired by the coalition fighters.”

This is not the first time the F-22 presence deters foreign military aircraft from harassing U.S. forces.

In March 2013, few months after two Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes operated by the Pasdaran (informal name of the IRGC – the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) attempted to shoot down an American MQ-1 flying a routine surveillance flight in international airspace the Pentagon decided to escort the drones involved in ISR (intelligence surveillance reconnaissance) with fighter aircraft, including the Raptors.

In one very well-known episode, F-22 stealth jets providing HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) to a U.S. Predator flew under the Iranian F-4E Phantoms that had intercepted the drone then pulled up on their left wing and then called them and radioed a famous “you really ought to go home” that allegedly scared the Iranian pilots off saving the drone.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • oh they have been there for ages. Training people up mostly and supplying hard to get things that explode from Libya. Well there is that 60 tones of light weapons that went missing ;)

  1. I wonder if there’s any truth in reports of US military ‘advisors’ now being withdrawn from the area?

  2. Do I understand correctly? US warplanes were in Syrian airspace without Syrian authorization?
    Those US warplanes ordered Syrian warplanes to leave Syrian airspace?

  3. Syrian Air Force plane rightfully flying over Syrian territory forced to fly away by American fighter planes…because it was overflying USA troops, illegally (is there an UN resolution that allows foreign troops to enter Syrian borders without formal Assad permission?) deployed inside Syrian territory…funny isn’t it ?

  4. It might be worth mentioning that US air and ground forces are operating illegally in Syria and that Syria has a formal alliance with Russia. What possible US interests in Syria in anyway justify the risk of war with Russia? Destroying Iraq for Israel’s benefit is one thing but risking a nuclear war with Russia to please Israel’s partisans in the USA is quite something else. US interests first, not Israel’s.

    • No real interest just trying to stop a dictator from gassing more of his people. Also we go where we want to fight and kill ISIS

      • If we hadn’t been so stupid as to remove Saddam from power there would be no ISIS. If we’d have removed Assad, like Hillary and all the pro Israel neocons had wanted to, ISIS would be ruling from Damascus instead of ar-Raqqa. And Libya turned out real good too.

      • More recycled claims from previous American wars while the US supports Islamists who actually gas Syrian people.

      • The US is trying to effect regime change in Syria for Israel’s benefit. Listen to ex Sec. of State Hillary Clinton:”The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

    • yeh but where is the nuclear fallout? It wont be landing on any billionaires lawn for sure. & so what about breaking the law, killing millions and displacing millions more to destabilise a region? I mean thats the whole fun of being super narcissistic surely? I mean look what happened to Lord Tony Blair… after the enquiry where he was found pretty much guilty of breaking UK laws, going against the UN, pretty much a agenda of genocide etc. Zero happened to him. Not even a slap on the wrist. In fact he’s richer then ever.

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