A RUSSIAN fighter almost collided with an American warplane over Syria in a terrifying near miss that could have triggered another world war, US officials have revealed.
The Russian jet was escorting a larger spy plane when it flew dangerously close to a US aircraft over the east of Syria on October 17.
Air Force Lieutenant General Jeff Harrigan said the two planes came “inside of half a mile” of each other.
Moscow’s warplanes came so close to the US aircraft that the American pilot could feel the turbulence produced by the Russian jet’s engines. A second US military officer said: “It was close enough you could feel the jet wash of the plane passing by.”
The aircraft was flying at night and without lights and US officials suggested the Russian pilot had simply not seen the American jet.
Lt Gen Harrigan said: “I would attribute it to not having the necessary situational awareness given all those platforms operating together.”
The US official said the US pilot tried but was unsuccessful in reaching the Russian pilot using an radio channel reserved for emergency situations.
Lt Gen Harrigan also said the number of near misses had increased in recent weeks.
Worryingly, Russian jets were deliberately following a US or coalition plane too closely about “every 10 days”, he added.
News of the near miss comes as senior Russian generals appealed to the Russian defence ministry to give the green light for fresh airstrikes on Aleppo.
Meanwhile, a senior US general has called for the anti-ISIS coalition to start bombing the terri group’s de facto capital in Syria.
Lt Gen Stephen Townsend, the top American military commander in Iraq, said the coalition should have a “sense of urgency” about targeting Raqqa despite a focus on Mosul, where forces are making progress in ousting the jihadis.