Syrian drone shot down by U.S. fighter jet
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 23:43
F/A-18A Hornets from Australia's Air Task Group fly in formation with a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A.
The decision came amid increasing tension between the USA and Russian Federation, which warned it would track coalition aircraft in Syria as potential "targets", and halted a military hotline with Washington over the incident.
The announcement from Canberra also came as a brief, two-day truce collapsed in the southern Syrian city of Daraa and nearby areas where government forces have gained ground.
The US-led coalition has repeatedly been accused of bombing civilian targets in Syria, mainly in the Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor Governorates, where Washington is actively supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Syrian jet was shot down on Sunday evening after regime forces engaged fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance battling with U.S. support against IS, in an area close to Raqa.
The US will work to restore the deconfliction channel with Russian Federation in Syria that Moscow suspended after Washington's forces downed a Syrian warplane, an official said here. Russian Federation suspended the same mechanisms in April after the US struck a Syrian military base in response to a chemical attack, but resumed its participation weeks later.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington is working to re-establish communications aimed at avoiding mishaps involving US and Russian air operations in Syria.
These incidents, however, are tactical, not part of any USA strategy in Syria, analysts said.
The coalition said Syrian troops attacked SDF fighters near Tabqa, south of Raqa, wounding several and chasing them out of the town.
Analysts say neither Washington nor President Bashar al-Assad's regime appear to be seeking further confrontation, but warn that the risks are high in Syria's increasingly crowded battlefields.
"The coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf, where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS", the statement said.
Throughout eastern Syria, the United States is competing with Damascus for control of territory seized from ISIS.
Iran cast the strike as a response to last week's Islamic State attacks in Tehran, which killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.
"The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message", Gen. Ramazan Sharif of the Revolutionary Guard told Iranian state TV in an interview.
The escalation comes a day after the United States shot down a Syrian air force jet.
Sillo also warned that if "the regime continues in its offensive against our positions in Raqqa province, this will force us to retaliate with force".
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it was extended 24 hours.
"Likely civilian fatalities from Coalition airstrikes in Syria rose by 30 percent in May, amid rising concern from global agencies and human rights groups at the rising toll".