Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Russia warns US after downing of Syrian jet

Russia warns US after downing of Syrian jet

Russian Federation warned that it may treat US-led coalition aircraft over Syria as targets following the shooting down of a Syrian government warplane, in an escalation of rhetoric between the two rivals in the Middle East conflict.

"The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria", the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group.

From now on, all aircraft and drones of the coalition detected west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian air- and ground-based air defense systems as targets, the ministry warned.

Warplanes from the US-led coalition operating over Syrian airspace west of the Euphrates River will be treated as potential targets, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Monday, a day after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian air force jet.

And a top Russian official called the United States downing of the Syrian plane an act of aggression that assists terrorists.

Russian Federation first halted the deconfliction agreement in April after the United States carried out air strikes on Syrian targets.

Russian Federation said the United States shot down a Syrian regime jet fighter that was attacking Islamic State targets about 25 miles west of Raqqa.

"At 6.43pm, a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqa and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet".

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The MINDEF also demands a thorough investigation into the shooting down yesterday of a Syrian Air Force SU-22 fighter jet over the northern province of Raqqa, without knowing the whereabouts of the pilot who was catapulted after the attack.

The Coalition said it contacted Russian commanders to set up a "de-confliction line" to prevent the fighting from worsening.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington is working to re-establish communications aimed at avoiding mishaps involving US and Russian air operations in Syria.

The United States and Russian Federation, which has been providing an air cover for Bashar Assad since 2015 in his offensive against the Daesh group, have a standing agreement that should prevent in-the-air incidents involving USA and Russian Federation jets engaged in operations in Syria.

"What is this, if not an act of aggression?"

Earlier, Syrian forces attacked Coalition fighters in Ja'Din, wounding a number of fighters and driving them from the town.

The Dutch government is sending a military refueling plane to Kuwait to assist the US -led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The SDF is leading the ground offensive in Syria to capture the Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa.

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