Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Russian Federation suspends cooperation with United States in Syrian airspace following jet downing

Russian Federation suspends cooperation with United States in Syrian airspace following jet downing

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict. The ministry also said it demands an investigation and report from the United States about its operation in which the jet was shot down.

"Any flying objects, including planes and drones of the worldwide coalition, discovered west of the Euphrates River will be tracked as aerial targets by Russia's air defenses on and above ground".

A top Russian diplomat on Monday condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of "aggression", while US -backed opposition forces on the ground warned Syrian government troops to stop their attacks or face retaliation.

According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the us -backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja'Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.

Russian Federation first halted the deconfliction agreement in April after the U.S. carried out air strikes on Syrian targets.

A Syrian army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing in the first such downing of a Syrian jet by the United States since the start of the conflict in 2011.

The US attack, the first downing of a manned Syrian aircraft, came as its coalition partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces fought intense ground battles with Syrian government allies around Taqba.

It added that Russian warplanes were also operating in Syria's airspace at the moment of the attack, but the US -led coalition didn't use the existing communication channels to warn the Russian military.

A senior USA defense official tells CNN the so-called "de-confliction line" remains open with Russian Federation.

According to the BBC, the Russian government, which backs the Assad regime, was angered by what it calls a "flagrant attack" that will have "dangerous repercussions", despite the USA claiming it used the proper communication channels to warn the Syrian aircraft.

Russian Federation has suspended cooperation with U.S. counterparts within the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria.

"I'm sure that because of this, neither the US nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft", he told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.

An SDF official told Reuters the Syrian army had been engaged in skirmishes in recent days with USA -backed forces near the town of Maskaneh close to the borders of Raqqa province, much of which is now held by US -backed groups fighting Islamic State.

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

The Syrian army backed by Iranian-backed militias has also been in competition in southeastern Syria with USA -backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels who are also trying to recapture territory from ISIS. Israel also is concerned about Iran's missiles and has deployed a multilayered missile-defense system. Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts "to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing", according to the statement.

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