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Russian Federation condemns USA downing of Syrian warplane

19 June 2017, 04:31 | Taylor George

The US-led coalition shot down a Syrian regime jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside during a combat mission against Daesh, the US military said.

The U.S. military confirmed a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday, after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The Assad regime disputed the Pentagon's version of Sunday's events, claiming that the aircraft which was shot down had been engaged in actions against ISIS, not against US -backed rebel forces.

Syria immediately condemned the move as a "flagrant attack" that would have "dangerous repercussions", according to the BBC.

The U.S. has long said that it would protect what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces. In September 2016, a coalition airstrike on Deir ez-Zor killed over 60 Syrian soldiers while in April 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile strike on the Shayrat airbase, ostensibly in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons by the Syria government, though no concrete evidence of this has emerged.

"After the US attack on the Syrian government forces, Russian forces, which back Assad, were contacted to establish a "'de-confliction line' to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

The SDF on Monday said it would be "forced to retalliate" if the Syrian government continued attacking its positions around Raqqa. On June 8, USA officials reported that a drone likely connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on US -backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet.

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Now Washington is extending this protection to forces that it backs who are engaged in the offensive against Raqqa.

The statement added that although such attacks seek to undermine the Syrian armed forces' struggle against terrorism, they will not be deterred in fighting for stability and security in the Syrian Arab Republic.

A statement by the USA -led task force that is fighting the Islamic State stressed that it was taken under rules of engagement permitting the "collective self-defense" of its Syrian partners.

"Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the worldwide coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets", Russia's defense ministry declared.

Earlier in the civil war, Turkey in November 2015 shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane along the Turkey-Syria border in disputed circumstances.

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



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