US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

Claudine Rigal
Juin 19, 2017

According to Syrian state television, the Syrian aircraft was taking part in an attack on Islamic State fighters when it was shot down by US coalition forces.

The Syrian army warned of the "dangerous repercussions" of the attack, stressing that such acts will not dissuade the Syrian army from continuing its fight against the terrorist groups and restoring peace and security to all of Syria.

In April, the U.S. Navy launched 59 cruise missiles targeting a Syrian airbase from two destroyers in the Mediterranean following a chemical weapons attack by Assad's forces.

The incident further complicates the country's six-year war and comes as a US-led coalition and allied fighters battle to oust the Islamic State group from its Syrian bastion Raqa.

The US-led coalition has downed a government warplane in southern Syria, the Syrian army and coalition have announced in separate statements. After the attack by pro-Syrian forces, coalition officials called their Russian counterparts "to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing", it said.

The US coalition claimed in its statement it had responded to an attack by Syrian forces on the SDF in the town of Ja'din, near Resafa.

Russia's defense ministry also said Monday it is suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called "de-confliction zones" after the incident.

The US Central Command said the plane was downed "in collective self-defence of Coalition-partnered forces", identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqah.

"The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq", the coalition known as Operation Inherent Resolve (OIF) said in a statement. According to SDF officials, the USA air force is lacking intensity on conducting air strikes to dislodge ISIS fighters from major defensive positions in and around Raqqa.

The Pentagon confirmed at the tme there were no casualties from the attack but would not comment on whether the drone was operated by the Syrian armed forces or another foreign military. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian forces reached a new point along their border with Iraq or whether it was the Iraqi forces that had moved northeast of their newly captured point.

On May 18 and again on June 6 and June 8, coalition forces struck pro-regime forces who were deemed to be posing a threat to US and partner forces in an area near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border where the training local forces to fight against ISIS.

"If the regime continues attacking our positions in Raqqa province, we will be forced to retaliate.and defend our forces", Selo said, accusing the government and its allies of trying to obstruct the Raqqa offensive.

Iran has sent to Syria military advisers as well as thousands of "volunteer" fighters recruited among its own nationals, and among Shiite communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Seventeen people were killed when gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the parliament complex and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the Iranian capital.

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