„U.S. and Russian fighter jets bloodlessly tangled in the air over Syria on June 16 as the American pilots tried and failed to stop the Russians from bombing U.S.-backed rebels in southern Syria near the border with Jordan. The aerial close encounter underscores just how chaotic Syria’s skies have become as Russia and the U.S.-led coalition work at cross-purposes, each dropping bombs in support of separate factions in the five-year-old civil war. The near-clash also highlights the escalating risk of American and Russian forces actually coming to blows over Syria, potentially sparking a much wider conflict between the world’s leading nuclear powers.
The incident began when at least two twin-engine Su-34 bombers, some of Moscow’s most advanced warplanes, struck what the Pentagon described as a ‚border garrison‘ housing around 200 U.S.-supported rebels in At Tanf on the Syrian side of the Syria-Jordan border. The rebels had been ‚conducting counter-ISIL operations in the area,‘ the Pentagon stated on June 18, using an alternative acronym for ISIS. The United States and its allies in Syria clearly did not expect the air strike. The rebels in At Tanf are party to a shaky ceasefire agreement between rebel forces and the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad – and, by extension, the Russian military contingent backing Al Assad. The Los Angeles Times reported that Russian planes had not previously been active over At Tanf.“
(David Axe: „U.S. and Russian Jets Clash Over Syria“)