Air-to-air combat is back: How will the Air Force respond as the war over Syria heats up?

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Photo: US Air Force / Flickr
Media Outlet: Air Force Times

Peter Singer was quoted in an article by the Air Force Times about air combat in Syria:

The conflict is growing more complex as ISIS teeters on the brink of losing its strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, and the various powers start to jockey for control of vacated territory, said Peter Singer, an analyst with the New America Foundation
“Forces start to bump into each other, and get nearer to each other, and even fight with each other,” Singer said. “That’s what you see with Assad forces, SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces], it’s just a pretty wild mix there. And then you’ve got our forces on the ground [with SDF forces], in some cases mixed in, and that’s a lot of what’s happening here.” 
These developments could go one of two ways, Singer said: They could lead to more clarity regarding who can operate where as far as supporting or opposing various proxy forces in the area. That would be a positive outcome.  
This kind of clarity amounts to, “I’ve warned you [that] if you operated here, carried out strikes here, I would shoot. You didn’t believe me. Now I did, and so you never do it again,” Singer said.  
Alternatively, he said, “things [could] get out of control, and get out of control in a really bad way.”
And with actions being taken that don’t reflect a clear political strategy, he said, that’s particularly troubling. 
“Did we just walk backwards into, best case, a no-fly zone, [or] worst case, a war against a state power?” Singer said. “The escalation could become not just a tit-for-tat, but become a furball — lots of shooting in a very quick time. That’s the worst-case scenario.” 

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Peter Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at New America. The author of multiple award-winning books, he is considered one of the world's leading experts on 21st century security issues.