Russia’s Defense Ministry issued an ominous warning to Washington on Monday, saying it would track USA -led coalition aircraft operating in certain areas of Syria as potential targets.
The war in Syria has entered a unsafe new phase after the United States shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet yesterday, US Senator Edward Markey said in a statement on Monday.
Russian Federation reacted angrily to the USA shootdown of the Syrian jet, which the Pentagon said was dropping bombs near the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a mixed Kurdish-Arab militia fighting Islamic State.
Russia, which is flying its own air war in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, condemned the incident and said it had shut off a special “deconfliction” hotline with the U.S. military, though top officer General Joe Dunford later said the United States was seeking to re-establish the channel.
The Pentagon said that it did not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian Federation or pro-regime forces, but was merely acting in defence of its coalition partners in Syria.
Russian Federation condemned the US latest strike against a Syrian aircraft, calling it a “flagrant violation of worldwide law”.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in comments to Russian news agencies, compared the downing to “helping the terrorists that the U.S.is fighting against”.
The Syrian government this month marched into Raqqa province from the west but had avoided conflict with the US-backed SDF until the latest incident.
The latest escalation came over the weekend as US forces shot down a Syrian attack plane near Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa, where multiple warring groups have been engaged in increasingly intense fighting. The incidents reflect mounting competition for areas of Syria where Islamic State (IS) insurgents are in retreat, leaving swathes of territory up for grabs and posing the question of what comes next for U.S. policy that is shaped first and foremost by the priority of vanquishing the jihadists.
The US-led coalition provides support to the Arab-Kurdish units from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which storm Raqqa.
What is the state between the SDF and Assad’s forces?
A top Russian diplomat has condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of “aggression”.
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 is supporting Assad militarily with air power, advisers and special forces as he tries to roll back ISIS and other militant groups.
The statement describes, “some SDF fighters” have wounded in the regime’s attack, but it had not specified further.
“The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated”, it said.
This is in justification for the downing of an SU-22 Syrian fighter jet that has bombed SDF positions in the city of Raqqa during the attack against the remaining ISIS pockets in the city.
“Right now what we have is a policy of ambiguity”, said Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security. The Syrian Democratic Forces have been part of a large-scale offensive aimed at capturing Raqqa. A senior White House official said: “The strategy for Syria is to defeat ISIS and first and foremost achievement of a de-escalation of the conflict so we can work toward a political resolution”.