Syrian and Iraqi airspace are bombarded by countries participating in the fight against the ISIS. On one side are the Russian aviation forces fighting in support of the Assad regime along with Russian allies. On the other side are western countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition, such as UK and NATO forces. In other part of the world, Russia and U.S./NATO are warring forces over Ukraine.
On Sunday a report from UK’s The Daily Star Sunday, it was claimed that UK and NATO forces received order from their higher-ups to fire on Russian air forces in case combat could no longer be avoided and lives are at risk. According to the report, UK and NATO pilots were instructed to avoid contacts with Russian jets. Both U.S. and UK control officials vowed to do their best to prevent miscalculation from happening.
However, they were also given the get-go to do drastic action if they are to be fired on by Russian forces. In preparation for this, the RAF Tornado jets are said to be equipped with supersonic missiles that can target any aircraft during aerial combat.
“We need to protect our pilots but at the same time we’re taking a step closer to war. It will only take one plane to be shot down in an air-to-air battle and the whole landscape will change,” one UK military source told The Daily Star Sunday.
“No one knows what the Russians will do next. We don’t know how they will respond if they come into contact with a Western jet.”
“When planes are flying at supersonic speeds the airspace gets crowded very quickly. There could be a collision or a Russian pilot might be mistakenly shot down,” said another source.
A Russian jet has reportedly been shot down by Turkish forces after it invaded its airspace again, according to unconfirmed reports circulating across social media. It was first tweeted by Yasser Alhaji. David Cenciotti subsequently tweeted that a Turkish Air Force F-16s are responding to a mysterious Mig-29’s lockons on Turkish border with radar lockons. The 47th also tweeted that there was a huge explosion in the sky while three fighter jet were hovering up the Turkish border.
On Oct. 11, a report emerged that the convoy of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was bombed by Iraqi forces and his fate remains unknown. In a statement obtained by RUDAW, an Iraqi cabinet member said al-Baghdadi’s convoys were targeted by Iraqi aircraft.
“Depending on our own intelligence information and in coordination with the Anbar operations command, we managed to launch a successful campaign, shelling Baghdadi’s vehicles after he left a meeting of the group’s leaders in Karabla, killing many militants,” the statement said.
Pentagon has yet to confirm the report but an insider revealed to Fox News that the ISIS leader did not appear to have been hit after the Iraqi’s airstrike. As of press time, Iraqi officials are still in the process of collecting DNA samples at the scene of the bombing.