US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 19, 2017,
Jun 19, 2017, 22:08
Last month, the militia fighters clawed back Tabqah from Islamic State, but the Islamic State still holds sway in large swaths of the desert areas to the south.
"I don't recall this before, where you have US forces shooting down a Syrian aircraft".
The SDF, which is comprised of Syrian Kurds and other Arab fighters, is considered by the United States to be an important ally in the fight against Isis. But the US scrambled aircraft to roar over the battlefield in "a show of force" that halted the pro-government forces' advance.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the presence of the rocket launchers can not be justified by a need to fight Islamic State terrorists, as IS forces are not active in the area.
The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies... in fighting terrorism across its territory", it said.
Russian Federation said in response to the incident that it would target USA -led coalition jets in parts of Syria, the Associated Press reported Monday morning.
The statement from the US-led coalition said it is operating in Syria to fight ISIS, which has taken over areas of Syria during the country's civil war, and not the Syrian regime or its partners.
Overall, the US has stepped up operations in Syria as partner forces seek to push ISIS out of its stronghold in Raqqa. The ministry also said it demands an investigation and report from the United States about its operation in which the jet was shot down. The Syrian army said the skirmish would have "dangerous repercussions".
The U.S. military statement said it acted in "collective self defense" of its partner forces. The town is south of Tabqah and a known area where US works with Russian Federation to deconflict the airspace. United States forces in the area were not directly threatened, he added.
About two hours later, despite the calls to stand down and the US presence overhead, a Syrian Su-22 jet dropped munitions on the Syrian Democratic Forces. But Sunday was the first time an American jet destroyed an enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat since February 2009.
But in April, Russia briefly suspended a hotline meant to prevent midair incidents with the USA over Syria after the American military fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government.
Russian Federation has been a staunch supporter of Syria's beleaguered President Bashar Assad and has been providing an air cover for his offensive against IS since 2015.
"The Coalition's mission is to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria", a statement from the coalition said. They are in support of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters aligned against Islamic State militants. "His fate is unknown", the statement said.