Russia has warned that the US-led coalition’s aircraft fighting the war in Syria will be targeted.
It comes a day after the Syrian military’s SU-22 jet plane was shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft.
The Russian defense ministry said Monday that any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the international coalition operating west of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets.
It said the US did not inform Russia before the Syrian fighter bomber was shot down, hence Russia withdraws from the memorandum of co-operation with the coalition regarding this.
Both sides had set up a mutually agreed communication channel to prevent air incidents and guarantee flight safety on the highly risky Syrian airspace.
The Pentagon said the Syrian aircraft was shot down immediately after it dropped bombs targeting Syrian rebel fighters south of Tabqah in northern Syria Sunday “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of coalition partnered forces.”
In a statement Monday, the US Defense Department made it clear that attacks by pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria, which are engaged in “legitimate counter-ISIS operations,” will not be tolerated.
Besides the one targeting Syrian aircraft, coalition military forces said they conducted 15 air strikes against Islamic State targets in various parts of Syria on Sunday.
IS-controlled wellheads, vehicles, fighting positions, mortar systems, a vehicle bomb, a tactical vehicle and a heavy machine gun were destroyed in the attacks.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said this was the first time in the years-old war against terrorists that the U.S. forces shot down a Syrian regime aircraft because they had promised to protect moderate Syrian opposition forces fighting IS from potential Syrian government retribution.
The US military began fighting IS in Syria in 2014.
by RTT Staff Writer