Russia: US Planes in Syria Are Now 'Targets'


The strikes came amid two other significant "firsts" in the Syrian civil war: the downing of a Syrian regime warplane by a US fighter jet, and a vow from the Russian government to treat any coalition aircraft in Syria as an enemy target.

"At 6.43pm, a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqa and, 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".

Despite Russia's threat, a spokesman for the US -led coalition told The New York Times American military forces will still conduct air and ground operations in Syria.

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.

Moscow has condemned the US downing of the Syrian government fighter jet after it dropped bombs nears USA partner forces.

The US-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.

Russia's defense ministry says it is suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called "de-confliction zones" after the Americans downed a Syrian government fighter jet.

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

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.

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.

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Mr Ryabkov is due to meet Thomas Shannon, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in St Petersburg, Russia, on June 23 to discuss bilateral affairs.

The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria's airspace is a cynical violation of Syria's sovereignty.

A similar incident had taken place in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign when the U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon shot down a Serbian MiG-29. But the coalition said it would defend itself and its allies.

In a high-profile incident in May US planes struck Syrian pro-regime forces, which they said threatened US partner forces that were being trained near Tanf in southern Syria.

While the planes were initially restricted to operations over Iraq, the Tories decided in March 2015 to expand the mission to include Syria as well.

The shoot-down comes during a period of heightened tensions between the U.S., Iran, Russia and the Syrian regime. "This, if you like, is help for the terrorists that the USA are fighting under what they call their anti-terrorism policy".

Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said it was the first time it had happened.

"The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated".

He said Russia, Turkey and Iran promoted the Astana process to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.