Is Russia smart enough to back off?
On Monday morning, Pentagon officials warned Russian authorities that American pilots WILL defend themselves if fired at by the Syrian or Russian militaries. This counter-warning is in response to a direct threat from the Kremlin that called American aircraft in western Syria “valid targets.”
Capt. Jeff Davis told Fox News the following: “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS, but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened,”
Here’s more from the Fox News report:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford doubled down on that rhetoric during a Monday speech at the National Press Club.
“I’m confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russia federation operations center — and I’m also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves,” Dunford said.
Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said coalition aircraft would continue conducting “operations throughout Syria, targeting ISIS forces and providing air support for Coalition partner forces on the ground.”
“As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian Regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to re-position aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrew given known threats in the battlespace,” Rankine-Galloway said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, Russian officials threatened to treat U.S.-led coalition planes flying in Syria, west of the Euphrates River, would be considered targets.
Even thought the United States and Russia are on opposite sides of the Syrian civil-war, both countries have vowed to cooperate in their joint fight against ISIS fighters in the region. Relations between the two nations have been strained in recent months over a host of issues; including allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 general election.
President Trump has attempted to have a positive relationship with Vladimir Putin, but the liberal media is making that task extremely difficult.