Commander of U.S. Air Force Central Command, Lt. Gen Alex Grynkewich, said on Monday that Russia’s presence in Syria has become “more aggressive” both in the air and on the ground.
“The Russian presence in Syria has become, I would argue, more aggressive since the Ukrainian invasion,” Grynkewich said.
This came during a panel at the Air and Space Forces Association’s 2022 Air, Space and Cyber Conference in Maryland on Monday.
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“Frankly, it’s a bit concerning, where we have forces on the ground and armed Russian aircraft that fly over them. Your airmen and guardians are in close contact with those Russians every single day, intercepting them, escorting them and making sure our forces on the ground remain safe in Syria and Iraq as they continue the fight against ISIS,” he added.
During the last two years, clashes and scuffles erupted between the U.S. and Russian forces on the ground in northeast Syria.
This followed the Turkish invasion in 2019 of the two cities of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad and the deployment of the Russian forces to the region following an understanding with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
At the time, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said the U.S. troops would remain in Syria, affirming keenness to keep in touch with Russians to avert any clashes between the two parties.
“Some of those Russian general officers frankly failed in Ukraine are trying to make a name for themselves again and regain a favourable standing within the Russian federation armed forces,” Grynkewich noted.
“I don’t think they’ll succeed, but that’s what they’re trying to do,” the commander concluded.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.