Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

US shoots down Syria warplane after allies bombed

US shoots down Syria warplane after allies bombed

A U.S. military jet has shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter plane that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The U.S. -led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement Sunday that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

An initial attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad occurred at 4:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET), causing an unknown number of casualties and driving out SDF fighters, the coalition said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army warned of the "dangerous repercussions" of the attack, stressing that such acts will not dissuade the Syrian army from carrying on with fighting the terrorist groups and restoring peace and security to all of Syria. The pilot is missing, The Syrian Armed Forces said.

The incident came as a monitoring group reported the first ground fighting between Syrian regime troops and the US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters. US -backed forces have encircled the city of Raqqa and captured several districts from the militants.

Since the US-backed rebels failed to slow the Syrian Army down in southern Syria, the United States is now relying on the Kurdish forces to obstruct Damascus expansion eastward.

The Pentagon argued that because they are allied with the Kurds they were free to attack the Syrian plane under the concept of "collective self-defense", and added that they "will not hesitate" to take further military action to defend the Kurds, or other partnered forces, from future threats.

Following the downing of the Syrian plane, clashes between government troops and coalition-backed fighters broke out in two villages some 40km south of the city of Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating ISIL fighters in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the group's control for nearly three years.

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