A day after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane, Russian Federation on June 19 warned that it would target any USA -led coalition jets and drones that are discovered “west of the Euphrates River”.
On Sunday, the U.S. shot down a Syrian plane that had dropped bombs near the SDF south of Tabqa about two hours after SDF fighters were wounded in an earlier attack by pro-Syrian regime forces in Ja’Din. The U.S. story contradicts that of that Syrian army, which claims the downed jet had been on a mission to fight ISIS militants.
The Russian Defense Ministry said not only will it suspend the hotline between Russia and the USA meant to avoid conflict, but it will now consider any US plane in the region a “target”. The incident comes at a time when the United States led coalition and its fighters present on the ground are fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov called it a “continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of global law”, adding: “What is this if not an act of aggression?”
Ryabkov asked: “What is this, if not an act of aggression?”
According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced it is halting cooperation with its United States counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria following the coalition’s downing of a Syrian warplane.
On June 6, the coalition “destroyed” pro-Syrian regime forces who had advanced beyond a de-confliction zone near At Tanf.
Russia’s Defence Ministry responded by suspending cooperation with the USA aimed at avoiding air incidents over Syria, where the Russian air force is bombing in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s campaigns against rebels and IS. A number of SDF fighters were wounded in the assault, and the SDF soon left Ja’Din. This followed a strike on pro-regime forces on May 18 on the same grounds, according to the coalition. The U.S. Navy says one of them was attacked by that Syrian aircraft it shot down.
The pilot of the jet went missing after this “flagrant aggression”, the army’s command added in a statement, according to Syria’s state news agency SANA.
Ozerov said Russia would track US -backed jets but not shoot them down unless they took action against a Russian aircraft.
The US-led coalition has in recent weeks escalated its aerial bombing campaign in northern Syria and Raqqa province.
Time pointed out that throughout eastern Syria, the United States is competing with Damascus for control of territory seized from ISIS.