Theresa May plays down risk of clash with Russian forces in Syria

Claudine Rigal
Juin 20, 2017

The United States has moved quickly to contain an escalation of the situation after the jet was downed on Sunday evening when regime forces targeted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters battling IS.

The American-led military coalition in Syria said it's repositioned aircraft after Russian Federation threatened to treat its warplanes as targets in response to the us downing of a Syrian government jet.

The American F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down the Syrian SU-22 around 7:00 pm as it "dropped bombs near SDF fighters" south of the town of Tabqa, the coalition said in a statement.

In a statement, Russia's Defense Ministry condemned the U.S.' actions as "a cynical violation of Syria's sovereignty".

USA -led aircraft in Syria may face "destruction" if they threaten the lives of Russian pilots, Viktor Ozerov, the defense committee's chairman, said Monday, according to the Interfax news service.

The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that, starting Monday, it will track all jets and drones of the US -led coalition west of the Euphrates and treat them as targets.

But the advances have created conflict with the US-led coalition, particularly along the Syrian border, where USA and other foreign forces are training an anti-IS force at the Tanf garrison.

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

The Russians also cut off the hotline with the United States meant to prevent incidents as the two militaries operate in a dynamic and complex war zone.

A US-led coalition fighter jet has shot down a Syrian military plane in Raqqa province, the USA has confirmed.

The U.S. shot down the Syrian Su-22 jet after claiming that it was targeting opposition partners.

US aircraft were being repositioned Monday after concerns about the contested battle space, said Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the Baghdad-based Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Syrian army said its warplane was on a mission against IS when it came under fire, according to state television.

"We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground", he said. In April, Russia briefly suspended cooperation after the US military fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the shoot down an "act of aggression". The U.S. -led coalition said it acted in "collective self-defense" of partnered forces. It made the same threat after President Trump ordered a missile attack on a Syrian air base in April.

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