Russia warns US after downing of Syrian jet

Tuesday, 20 Jun, 2017

American officials say the Syrian jet dropped bombs near USA -backed forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - a claim the Syrian government and Russian Federation both dispute.

A day after a US Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane, Russia says it has stopped using a key communication channel set up to avoid conflict between US and Russian forces in Syria.

The MINDEF also demands a thorough investigation into the shooting down yesterday of a Syrian Air Force SU-22 fighter jet over the northern province of Raqqa, without knowing the whereabouts of the pilot who was catapulted after the attack.

The top US military officer said Monday that Washington and Moscow are in delicate discussions to tamp down tensions arising from the USA shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet, which the Russians called a violation of a U.S.

A U.S. fighter jet, for the first time in the Syrian conflict, on Sunday shot down a Syrian warplane that was bombing US-led coalition fighters near Raqqa. According to the unnamed general, the new meeting point is roughly 12 miles (20km) from al-Mayadeen, a city held by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in eastern Syria. And that disagreement has constrained American leaders, who've made clear that any USA military activity in Syria avoid provoking an open confrontation between the US and Russian Federation, the world's two greatest nuclear powers.

This latest incident may indicate another escalation of the Syrian conflict and marks the first time the USA has downed a Syrian aircraft.

It is believed to be the first air-to-air kill of a manned aircraft by a United States military jet since the Kosovo campaign in 1999.

The memorandum had been in place to avoid incidents occurring between the United States and Russian air forces, both of which conduct parallel aerial operations over Syria as they offer support to distinct native forces on the ground.

"In accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet".

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Monday it would view as targets any flying objects over Syria in the areas of the country where its air forces operate, Russian news agencies reported.

Moscow's reaction came a day after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian plane for bombing USA -backed fighters battling Islamic State.

The U.S. and its coalition partners fly combat and support missions daily out of several bases in the Middle East, including in Qatar and Turkey.

"The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat", the us coalition said. It also demanded an investigation by U.S. command.

Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by Islamic State until recent months when Syrian government forces captured most of the region back.

Dunford said the U.S. -Russia military hotline established under the 2015 memorandum has been useful.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces - an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters - is battling to oust the militants from Raqqa, and broke into the IS stronghold city last week.

The ministry has demanded a thorough investigation by the U.S. military command into the incident with the Syrian government military jet, with the results to be shared with the Russian side, RT reported. USA -backed forces have encircled the city of Raqqa and captured several districts from ISIS.