Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

US shoots down Syrian Air Force fighter

The US-led coalition downed a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside during a Syrian combat mission against Daesh militants, the Syrian army said.

The U.S. -led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory", it said.

The Syrian army issued a statement on state television claiming its pilot is missing.

A Pentagon spokesman says the US had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday's confrontation.

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

The forces, who were operating near Tabqa at the time, were later identified as fighters form the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

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Coalition aircraft had made a show of force, stopping the advance of the pro-regime forces towards the town.

Just hours earlier, the United States bombed Syrian government and allied troops inside a protected zone in that area, and marked a sharp escalation in the skirmishes between the coalition and pro-Syrian government forces there.

Before it downed the plane, the coalition had "contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line" to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

"The attack stresses coordination between the US and ISIS, and it reveals the evil intentions of the administrating terrorism and investing it to pass the U.S".

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets fly a combat patrol over Afghanistan in December 15, 2008.

Despite the calls to stand down and the USA presence, the Syrian Su-22 jet dropped an unknown number of munitions on the SDF.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of predominantly Arab and Kurdish fighters, is a key proxy force for the US -led coalition in Syria.

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