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September 8, 2013 3:45 pm

UK Royal Air Force Jets Chase Away Syrian Warplanes Approaching Cyprus

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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A Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24, which has been exported to Syria, and spotted flying near Cyprus. Photo: WikiCommons.

A Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24, which has been exported to Syria, and spotted flying near Cyprus. Photo: WikiCommons.

UK Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter Jets chased away two warplanes believed to be Syrian flying towards Britain’s Akrotiri base in Cyprus.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman on Sunday confirmed the airborne confrontation, but classified the warplanes as “unidentified aircraft,” rather than officially identifying them as Syrian.

The spokesman said, “The MoD can confirm that Typhoon air defense aircraft operated from RAF Akrotiri on Monday to investigate unidentified aircraft to the east of Cyprus. The aircraft were flying legally in international airspace and no ­intercept was required. The RAF Typhoons were launched after sensitive airborne early-warning radar picked up the ‘contacts’ flying low and fast,” according to the UK’s Sunday People.

Radar alerts were triggered on Monday, ahead of the G20 summit in Russia, where U.S. President Barack Obama urged an international response to allegations that Syria used chemical weapons outside of Damascus last month.

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Two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24 bomber jets were identified approaching Akrotiri’s 14-mile air exclusion zone. The Sukhoi Su-24 is flown by the Syrian Air Force, assigned to the regime’s 819 squadron, and based at Tiyas air base, the newspaper said.

The two jets ignored attempts to make contact by the UK-manned control tower, which alerted the RAF. Typhoon fighters were deployed to make visual contact with the pilots of the planes. The newspaper said that as the Typhoons approached, the warplanes retreated. Two Turkish F-16s were also sent from the Incirlik air base, in Turkey, but arrived after the confrontation.

The British Typhoons are part of a squadron of six planes sent to Cyprus in anticipation of possible action against Syria, the newspaper said. It said, stationed at RAF Akrotiri, are two French Navy Atlantique spy planes and U.S. aircraft and special ­operations helicopters , while a Royal Navy Type 45 anti-aircraft destroyer is offshore.

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  • RC

    The nonsense continues. Stupid Brits ought to go home. They have not the authorization nor the right to harass any planes with their fighters. They are acting against the law.

    Assad has used no gas weapons. That is very very clear. The lies by the USA and friends continue.

    • DC

      “They have not the authorization nor the right to harass any planes with their fighters. They are acting against the law.”
      Yes they do. And no they are not.
      Get your facts right.

  • Andrej Vilar

    What a bloody story of brave Britains? I am in shock…. What if pilot try to escape from syria???

    • BlueShadowII

      Pilots attempting to ‘escape’ would fly low and slow and would welcome radio contact with ATC and/or intercepting fighters. These two are fortunate that they were not shot down.

  • Sandy Brown

    And now it begins…

  • Ed

    If I were a Syrian pilot, I would be trying to defect!

    • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

      This is not impossible?

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