Russia: US-led coalition planes in Syria to be treated as targets

Manu Brabo

Manu Brabo

Lavrov's remarks came after an American Navy fighter jet shot down early Monday a Syrian regime SU-22 fighter jet shortly after it attacked USA partner forces.

The shoot-down took place near the Syrian town of Ja'Din, located south of Tabqa dam, the coalition's main logistics and air support hub for the ongoing assault to drive the terror group known as ISIS or ISIL from their self-styled capital of Raqqa, says a Pentagon statement.

The ministry also called on the USA military to provide a full account of why it chose to shoot down the Syrian SU-22.

The Kurdish-led SDF - which is aligned with the United States in the campaign against IS - had warned Syrian government forces to stop their attacks or face retaliation.

Russia's defense ministry said Monday that military aircraft flown by the US -led coalition over Syrian government-controlled areas west of the Euphrates River will be tracked as potential targets.

Throughout Syria's six-and-a-half year civil war, the United States has supported rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad's government and extremist groups like IS, while Russian Federation has backed Assad.

Russian Federation also announced Monday it would cut an established channel with the de-conflict aerial operations over Syria.

The incident was the first time the USA has engaged in air-to-air combat in Syria, according to ABC News.

And the USA backs opposition groups there.

The Dutch government is sending a military refueling plane to Kuwait to assist the US -led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Activists say a "de-escalation agreement" brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey in May has brought little relief.

Here are five things we know about the incident.

Franz Klintsevich, a senior lawmaker on the upper house of parliament's defense and security committee, told RIA news agency that Russian Federation would not automatically shoot down any object and that decisions would be taken on a case-by-case basis.

Moscow's initial response also condemned the U.S. action, with deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov asking, "What is this if not an act of aggression?". 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.

Russian Federation will regard any flights within the area of its air force group's operation in Syria as legitimate targets, the ministry stressed.

Washington also described those strikes as self-defense.

Islamic State has been on the back foot in Syria over the past year, losing territory to separate military campaigns, including by the SDF and by the Russian-backed Syrian army. The U.S. recently deployed a truck-mounted missile system in Syria as Iranian-backed forces cut off the advance of the U.S. -supported rebels along the Iraqi border. Former Guard chief Gen. Mohsen Rezai wrote on Twitter: "The bigger slap is yet to come".

The developments give new urgency to a meeting later this week between senior USA and Russian diplomats that were meant to focus on irritants in the relationship that are hampering cooperation in other areas, notably Syria and Ukraine.

A United States fighter jet has shot down a Syrian government plane in Syria's Raqqa province, officials from both sides have said.

The ministry insisted that the SU-22 jet had been on a mission in Syrian government airspace.

The pro-government forces are not fighting the battle for Raqqa, but they have been making ground against IS in the surrounding area, south-west of the city. He said government forces began attacking the SDF on Saturday, using warplanes, artillery and tanks in areas that SDF had liberated from IS.

"If the regime continues attacking our positions in Raqqa province, we will be forced to retaliate.and defend our forces".

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.

Vasilyeva reported from Moscow.

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