National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria


Russia warned that it might fire on American aircraft in Syria after a U.S. Air Force F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Russian-built government fighter that allegedly bombed troops from the U.S. -led rebel coalition. Despite the Russian announcement at the time both the US and Russian militaries continued use of the air safety hotline for Syria.

Moscow warned Monday that it will track allied aircraft operating west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential targets after the US shot down a Syrian government warplane.

Moscow announced on Monday afternoon the decision to pause cooperation with its American 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 Su-22 warplane on Sunday.

The ministry added that any aircraft flying west of the Euphrates "will be tracked by the Russian ground and air anti-aircraft defense systems as air targets in the areas where Russian aviation is on combat missions in the Syrian sky".

A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, "in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces", was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite paramilitary force, said the six ballistic missiles flew from western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan and hit Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

The US-led Operation Inherent Resolve, as it is called, said on Sunday that its aircraft first conducted a show of force in support of fighters of the rebel Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), which had come under attack from Syrian government forces earlier in the day in Ja'Din town, south of Tabqah.

A host of worldwide parties are embroiled in the Syrian civil war to varying degrees, with Russian Federation and Iran aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who receives further ground support from Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah.

According to the senator, the U.S. undervalues the Russian military's potential and, thus, is behaving in a provocative way in Syria.

Russian Defense Ministry said the shooting down of a jet in Syria's airspace was a "violation" of the country's sovereignty and global law. But the advances have created conflict with the US -led coalition, particularly along the Syrian border, where USA and other foreign forces are training an anti-ISIL force at the Tanf garrison. USA -led coalition troops, specifically the Syrian Democratic Forces, were fighting in Raqqa province in an effort to oust ISIS from Raqqa, which ISIS now holds.

Speaking in Washington, the top US military officer said the two sides discussed the matter as recently as Monday morning but that further talks are needed. "If the regime continues attacking our positions in Raqqa province, we will be forced to retaliate", SDF spokesman Talal Silo said.The Syrian government this month marched into Raqqa province from the west but had avoided conflict with the USA -backed SDF until the latest incident. "That's why there's no threat of direct confrontation between Russian Federation and American aircraft".

The SDF however accused the Syrian government on Monday of attacking its positions using planes, artillery and tanks.

Dunford noted that the hotline, which has been vital in protecting both U.S. and Russian forces operating in Syria, remained in use "over the last few hours".

Until now, Iran's support for the Assad regime has been limited to providing money, military advisers, volunteers, and the mass deployment of Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters to Syria. So the U.S. supported a program to arm moderate rebels, but would never state just how far it would go to protect them if they were targeted by regime forces. The SDF is the anti-Islamic State alliance among the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen, and Circassian fighters. They marked the first missiles fired from Iran into foreign territory in 15 years.