Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

U.S. says it shot down a Syrian warplane in self-defence


Russian Federation has been providing air cover for Syrian president Bashar Assad since 2015 while the coalition has been bombing Islamic State (IS) targets since 2014, sometimes alongside regime forces.

Moscow has condemned the USA downing of the Syrian government fighter jet after it dropped bombs nears US partner forces.

That is where US forces have been training and advising local Syrian Arabs for the fight against Islamic State militants.

"In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and drones of the global coalition, detected in west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian ground-and-air defenses as air targets", it said.

"As a precautionary measure, Australian Defence Force strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased", the military said.

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Air strike operations into Iraq are unaffected.

The Russian military involvement in Syria began in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government for military assistance against terrorist groups.

After the three encounters, Assad's forces wheeled around and seized territory to the north all the way to the Iraqi border, leaving US forces and their allies largely isolated in the southeast and cutting off their path to the Islamic State group.

Meanwhile Iran's military said Sunday that it has launched several medium range ballistic missiles into eastern Syria, targeting ISIS fighters in retaliation for twin attacks that rocked Tehran on June 7. The U.S. needed to send a deterrent message or Syrian President Bashar Assad will continue to press his offensive across SDF-held territory.

The ministry added that all aircraft of the US-led coalition in the area of its combat missions in Syria will be tracked by Russian forces as "air targets".

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And it is on the Raqa and eastern border fronts where the advances have brought the regime into conflict with US-led forces. It also deployed about 780 military personnel. As per the military's statement today, it was temporarily halting air missions following the shooting down of a Syrian jet by U.S. forces.

Lemmon said: "These events illustrate how an uneasy battlefield coexistence in Syria has spiraled into a situation that is impossible to maintain".

On Sunday, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 warplane shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 that had dropped bombs near Syrian opposition forces.

The shootdown incident and Russia's response further complicate Syria's six-year war and come as the US-led coalition and allied fighters battle to oust the Islamic State group from its Syrian bastion Raqa. The drone was assessed to be armed and in firing range of US troops.

An official told Fox News the Russian plane was flying "erratically" and was "provocative".

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