New details on US shoot down of Syrian jet

Katrina Barker
June 23, 2017

Washington has warned it will retaliate if Russian forces prepare to take down a United States aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the air-safety hotline was not used and also noted that there were also Russian aircraft in the area when the plane went down. As a result, American-supported forces are coming into closer contact with the coalition supporting Assad even as the common strategic interest of defeating the Islamic State evaporates.

Coalition forces shot down a similar pro-regime drone near the same location earlier this month, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Now Russia has again suspended this line of communication, and again threatened force against the US. That's a questionable line of argument, particularly as unlike the recent strikes around al-Tanf, there's no indication that there was a US troop presence nearby-only Kurdish SDF forces.

The drone was approaching a small military base at the Syrian town of Tanf that U.S., British and Norwegian special operations forces use as a staging ground to train and equip rebel groups fighting the Syrian government and Islamic State militants.

Australia said it would temporarily halt air operations over Syria after the plane was downed.

The move came after the USA shot down a Syrian Su-22 which, the Pentagon said, had bombed US-backed fighters battling IS near the town of Tabqa in Raqqa province.

The US pilot proceeded to fire off a second missile, an AIM 120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, which hit its intended target, downing the Syrian warplane and forcing its pilot to eject, the officials added. Perhaps the U.S. will also continue flights west of the Euphrates but will think twice before trying to shoot down any more Syrian planes or Russian planes either. That means intimidating the US into inaction while they crush opposition forces.

The Pentagon stated that the unmanned aerial vehicle of the Assad regime was a threat because it had weapons on board and was in close proximity to the forces of the US-led global coalition.

Iran says it attacked IS fighters in eastern Syria with long-range missiles on Sunday.

Aron Lund, also a fellow at the Century Foundation, said that even though Russian Federation and the USA may not be interested in an escalation, it is not a given that they can help their allies in Syria avoid it.

"We have never had a coherent Syrian strategy", said one United States official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. A Syrian military offensive has unfolded on several fronts, coupled with Russian airstrikes and a show of force by Iran, which fired ballistic missiles on an IS stronghold this week and pushed militias that it sponsors deeper into the battlefield.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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