SYRIAN AIRCRAFT CROSS INTERNATIONAL AIRSPACE – The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that it did scramble two RAF Typhoon fighter jets from its Cypriot Air Base, Akrotiri, yesterday in response to two Syrian fighter jets crossing international airspace.
The MoD stated that the two aircraft did cross into Cyprus airspace legally but their intent was unknown; although the planes were believed to be Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s it has yet to be confirmed.
The Sukhio Su-24 is a heavily armoured fighter bomber which is capable of reaching Cyprus, from a Syrian base, some 200 miles, in less than 15 minutes.
The Syrian jets took off from Tiyas Air Force Base but the RAF considered the behaviour of the jets to be suspicious and therefore took the decision to investigate with two of its own jets.
It has also been confirmed that two Turkish F-16s were also scrambled in order to support and investigate the situation; both aircraft were scrambled from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force Base.
The suspicious nature of the incident was due to both aircraft flying low and fast which could be interpreted as a threat.
“The MoD can confirm that Typhoon Air Defence 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. MoD Spokesman
The Syrian aircraft were picked up after early-warning radar spotted them flying low and fast towards Cyprus and considering the British Air Force Base, Akrotiri, has over 1,300 personnel the RAF could not take any chances that the event could have been a surprise attack or that the Syrian’s were merely testing the defence systems.
Whether this incident has anything to do with the current tensions between the U.S, Britain and Europe is unclear, however all stations in and around the Mediterranean are on high alert.
Last week the British Government announced that it did not expect a request from the U.S or its coalition partners to use RAF Akrotiri, if Syria is subjected to missile strikes in response to Bashar al-Assad’s perceived used of chemical weapons in Damascus on August 21.
Any strike by the U.S or its coalition forces would certainly put RAF Akrotiri in the firing line and as a precaution the MoD ordered six RAF Typhoon jets to be situated on the base for the foreseeable future, however the MoD was clear to point out that these measure as simply ‘prudent and precautionary’.