Australia suspends airstrikes in Syria after USA downs Syrian jet

Ebony Scott
June 20, 2017

Iran fires missiles into Syria.

Speaking in Washington, the top US military officer said the two sides were in delicate discussions to lower tensions.

The strikes are the first time Iran has fired missiles at another country in three decades and represent a major escalation of Iran's role in the war in Syria.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the two sides discussed the matter as recently as Monday morning but that further talks are required.

"The worst thing any of us could do right now is address this with hyperbole", Dunford said at the National Press Club.

"Multiple military actions of USA aviation under the guise of fighting terrorism against the legal military of a state that is a member of the United Nations are a flagrant violation of global law and constitute de facto military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic", the ministry said, according to The Washington Post.

Moscow's warning came after the U.S. took down a Syrian military plane.

Russian Federation also said it was halting communications with the USA aimed at preventing such incidents.

"Australian Defence Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats", the defence department said in a statement.

Russia's ability to engage US aircraft with defense systems like the S-300 or S-400 is questionable, as they're located a considerable distance away from Raqqa, the Islamic State's headquarters in Syria now being blitzed by coalition aircraft.

U.S. Central Command later issued a statement saying the Syrian plane was downed "in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces", identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), near Tabqah.

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But both Russian Federation and Syria said the warplane was on a mission against IS about 40km (25 miles) south-west of Raqqa when it came under fire.

In response to Russia's warning Monday that USA planes flying west of the Euphrates River in Syria would be tracked both by aircraft and anti-aircraft batteries, Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Foreign Policy, "we will continue to conduct air operations throughout Syria".

A USA official told AFP the pilot of the Syrian plane appeared to have ejected before the jet was hit, though his fate was unknown.

The immediate effect on the US -led campaign against IS is unclear.

Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by IS before Syrian government forces captured a lot of them in recent months. "It seems that the USA under Donald Trump is the source of danger for the Middle East and the whole world on a qualitatively new level".

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has been providing an air cover to the government's offensive on the Islamic State group since 2015.

Officials called the drones actions "unacceptable" and said the USA shot it down before it was too late to protect the troops on the ground.

Russian Federation has been a staunch supporter of Syria's beleaguered President Bashar Assad and has been providing an air cover for this offensive since 2015. Moscow has said it entered the fight mainly to combat IS.

The U.S. spy plane was in global airspace when the Russian jet closed in for an intercept.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies on Monday that the downing was akin to "helping the terrorists that the fighting against".

A top Russian diplomat has condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of "aggression". "The balance of power in Syria is shifting away from Moscow and you are having a more assertive USA presence in the region".

Other reports by GizPress

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