- - Saturday, March 26, 2016

King Abdullah II of Jordan told U.S. congressmen that Jordanian and Israeli F-16s confronted Russian fighter aircraft as they approached the southern Syrian border during the recent Russian air campaign in the Middle East against anti-Assad rebels. Haaretz reported King Abdullah made the claim on Jan. 11th of this year.

“We saw the Russians fly down, but they were met with Israeli and Jordanian F-16s,” King Abdullah was cited as saying. “The Russians were shocked and understood they could not mess with us.”

The king claimed in the report that Jordan had often spoken for Israel in negotiations with the Russians aimed at de-escalating the conflict. “We discussed an idea on how to keep the Russians in their place,” the king told the lawmakers.

Many analysts have suggested that Israel and Jordan have supported anti-Assad forces in Syria during the last several years in the civil war against the regime. The king reportedly told the congressmen that Jordan had also sent special forces to help Syrian rebels on the ground retake key positions from government forces.

Moscow has not commented on the report as yet.

Leaders on both sides of the conflict have been concerned about unintentional conflict between Russian and coalition aircraft in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has personally traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prevent such occurrences. American commanders have also met with their Russian counterparts to deconflict air-traffic and ground operations in the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

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