Russian Federation will target coalition jets in parts of Syria, defence ministry says
- Author: Adam Floyd Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 0:50
Updated at 8:51 a.m.
The US-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement Sunday that a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near US partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.
A statement from US Central Command said that the plane was shot down because it dropped bombs on US-backed rebels from the Syrian Democratic Front, near Tabqa in north Syria.
Russian Federation also said that it will treat any US -led coalition aircraft in Syria, west of the Euphrates river, as targets, the Associated Press reports.
"The U.S.' repeated combat operations under the guise of "combating terrorism" against the legitimate armed forces of a United Nations member-state are a flagrant violation of worldwide law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic".
The Russians, who have been providing air cover for Assad's forces since 2015, appear to want to avoid further USA targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under US attack in eastern Syria recently.
The Pentagon said, however, that the bombing against the SDF in Taqba, to the west of Raqqa, occurred in spite of United States warnings.
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.More news: Search goes on for seven US sailors after collision off Japan
An American F18 Super Hornet shot down the plane after it dropped bombs near US -backed forces near Raqqa, Syria.
Government forces are not involved in the battle for Raqqa, but they are advancing in an area southwest of the city, skirting around SDF fighters to target Deir Ezzor.
The U.S. military statement said it acted in "collective self defense" of its partner forces and that the U.S. did not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters.
Now the Russians are threatening to shoot down any coalition forces that cross into their airspace.
The Syrian army acknowledged that one of its planes had been shot down.
Russian Federation will regard any flights within the area of its air force group's operation in Syria as legitimate targets, the ministry stressed. A "hotline" for Russian and US military officials to talk about activity within the zones was established in 2015.
The US-led coalition has in recent weeks escalated its aerial bombing campaign in northern Syria and Raqqa province.