The pilot of Iran's Beirut-bound Mahan Air Flight 1152 precipitously lowered the altitude of the plane in order to avoid collision with U.S. F-16 jet on Thursday.
Syria's civil aviation authority said the incident involving two warplanes and the Iranian flight took place over al-Tanf region, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported. It accused the fighters of conducting "dangerous" and "provocative" actions.
In response, the US Central Command said a single F-15 had made a “visual inspection” of the Iranian airliner “in accordance with international standards... to ensure the safety of coalition personnel” at the military base in al-Tanf.
The command added that the US F-15 was on a “routine air mission” in Syria and conducted “a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters."
“Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”
The U.S-led coalition maintains a controversial base in al-Tanf that is of strategic importance due to its hosting the interjection of Syrian, Jordanian, and Iraqi borders.
According to official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the military aircraft took off from the al-Tanf base. It did have permission to operate in the civilian air corridor.
Several passengers on the Iranian airline were injured in the incident. Some passengers reportedly hit their heads against the ceiling after the plane had to swoop lower.
In a statement on Friday, the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said it will seriously pursue the US fighter jets’ Thursday harassment of Mahan Air flight 1151 over the Syrian airspace.
The Iranian organization urged the ICAO to immediately address the US’ move, which is “a clear violation of the international law and the aviation standards and regulations.”
“Our passenger plane was moving at the international commercial flight route and corridor, and the American fighter jets’ threatening move was unlawful and inhumane,” thhe statement said