U.S. coalition shoots down Syrian regime jet
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 19, 2017,
Jun 19, 2017, 16:30
A US fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian warplane in response to an attack on USA -backed rebel forces fighting the Islamic State.
A US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside, with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near USA -backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants.
It's the first time the USA has shot down a Syrian aircraft since it began fighting ISIS in the country in 2014.
Government forces have also been attacking IS in northern, central and southern Syria, seizing 25,000 square kilometres (9,600 square miles) and reaching the Iraqi border for the first time in years.
Moscow has condemned the USA downing of the Syrian government fighter jet after it dropped bombs near American partner forces.
It said the incident "undoubtedly affirms the US real stance in support of terrorism which aims to affect the capability of the Syrian Arab army - the only active force - along with its allies that practice its legitimate right in combating terrorism all over Syria".
The U.S. anti-ISIS mission noted that it repeatedly warned pro-Syrian regime forces over the now cut deconfliction channel. Russia's defense ministry said it is suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called "de-confliction zones" after the Americans downed a Syrian government fighter jet on Sunday, June 18.
Meanwhile, the USA -backed opposition fighters said Assad's forces have been attacking their positions in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.
Now Washington is extending this protection to forces that it backs who are engaged in the offensive against Raqqa.
A number of SDF forces, which are backed by the US-led coalition, were wounded in the attack, the statement said.
Last April, President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase after accusing the regime of carrying out a deadly toxic gas attack in Idlib province.
Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace "cynically" violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.
They are moving increasingly east, we have already seen a couple of skirmishes between United States forces and Shi'a militias backed by Iran south of here.
Coalition aircraft then stopped the pro-regime forces' initial advance with a "show of force", the coalition added. The Syrian military added that the plane's pilot is now missing.