By Sophie Mangal
US Air Forces Central Command, Russian/Syrian aircraft crossed a de-confliction line into coalition airspace east of the Euphrates River 6 to 8 times a day in late November. “The greatest concern is that we could shoot down these aircraft because of their actions are seen as a threat” to coalition forces, the source claimed recently together with CNN.
In turn, Assad’s allies announced that most of the rapprochement between Russian/Syrian and U.S.-led coalition’ aircraft in the vicinity of the Euphrates River valley in Syria was associated with the attempts of the U.S. aircraft to interfere with the destruction of ISIS terrorists.
To be mentioned is that while the Syrian AF accompanied by the Russian side were eliminating ISIS stronghold in the suburbs of the city of al-Mayadin during the Deir-Ezzor campaign, U.S. F-22 aircraft was carrying out ‘flare ejection altitude’ (were releasing several decoy flares) and speed brake deployment maneuvering in airspace and simulating an air fight.
It seems a fight in the skies of Deir Ezzor is here to stay and the Memorandum on Flight Safety in Syria won’t help to pacify U.S. naked ambitions and ruthless determination to dominate in the skies over Syria. In the meantime, the legal basis for ‘coalition’ presence in Syria can’t be demonstrated. According to the international law, there is no U.S.-led coalition’s airspace in Syria. Apparently, the Pentagon had considered that there would be no point in following the international law regarding Syria’s airspace because the U.S. would be unable to benefit by its jets.
CNN statements have already raised a storm of indignation of common Syrians. Many of them try to ask what are these “coalition forces” really doing in Syria and call them “USA invasion forces.” Some people to draw parallels between the U.S. and Israeli AF planes as well as their missiles regularly infringe sovereign Syrian airspace. Syrians are concerned that there is no reason and excuse of that. The more so, nobody from the Western countries calls for the destruction of Israeli aircraft. A number of residents, according to the opinion poll made by Inside Syria Media Center via social media, even joked ‘Russia was too busy killing all those terrorists that the U.S. allowed to leave from Raqqa, that is why Russian/Syrian aircraft hadn’t notice U.S. F-22 aircraft.
Recent events in the Skies over Deir Ezzor should lead the international community to reflect further on that issue. Russia is legally invited in a sovereign country and operates within the framework of the international law. On the contrary, the U.S. army stays in Syria with no decision by the U.S. Congress which the only has the power to declare war and without any mandate from the UN.
(Sophie Mangal has studied media and journalism at University of North Carolina. Mangal monitored the refugee crisis in Europe, drawing parallels between the Syrian conflict and the Balkan problem. She currently works as Co-Editor of Inside Syria Media Center and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)