Russia warns US after downing of Syrian jet

Pauline Gross
June 20, 2017

Moscow accused the United States of failing to use the established communication hotline to warn Russian Federation about the downing of the plane on Sunday. In order to defuse the situation, he said, the U.S. needs to begin to see Russian Federation as a more equal partner in determining the future of Syria. "I'm also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves".

The U.S. military has stepped up its aggression towards the Syrian government in recent months. On June 8, the United States shot down a pro-regime drone after it fired on coalition forces, according to a coalition statement.

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. "We've communicated that clearly".

It said pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja'Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of rebel fighters and driving them from the town. The U.S. Navy says one of them was attacked by that Syrian aircraft it shot down. As ISIS collapses, the US has become eager to secure its influence in Syria against Russian Federation and Iran.

According to the statement, "pro-Syrian regime forces" had attacked and wounded some fighters in an SDF-held town.

The U.S. attempted to defuse to situation, calling into a special "deconfliction" line established with Moscow to reduce potential miscalculations.

The ministry accused the USA of failing to use a pre-established communication channel to warn Moscow of a strike downing the warplane, announcing it would drop the use of this channel.

The confrontation has ratcheted up tensions between the USA and Russian Federation, which backs President Bashar Assad's government.

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

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On Monday, Moscow disputed the US account that it used the deconfliction line.

The Russian Defense Ministry contradicted the coalition claim that the air safety hotline had been used and noted that there were Russian aircraft in the area at the time of the shootdown.

The Russian defence ministry went on to say in a statement that all aircraft belonging to the USA -led coalition operating west of the Euphrates "will be tracked by the Russian (surface-to-air missile) systems as targets".

This is the first Syrian plane that has been shot down by American-led forces, and it took place on Sunday. Furthermore, as Washington continues to wade deeper into the Syrian civil war without a clear strategy, it could bring the USA into direct conflict with Iran. "And we'll see if that's true here in the coming hours, because all of our operations in and around Raqqa and southern Syria are designed specifically to get after ISIS".

The BBC reports that this is the first time an American plane has shot down a hostile plane since the conflict in Kosovo in 1999, and it could turn out to be an important moment in the Syrian conflict.

The Bush pounded ISIS from the Persian Gulf for more than two months, then on June 5 it returned to the eastern Mediterranean where it had launched air assaults in early March. The strikes were carried out in retaliation for twin ISIS attacks in Tehran that killed at least 16 people at Iran's Parliament and a shrine dedicated to the country's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini. The attack drove the SDF from Ja'Din, which is west of Raqqa, the coalition statement said.

"It is time for diplomacy", he said.

All three incidents indicate that the brutal conflict is on the verge of entering a new phase that could pit world powers against each other in direct confrontation at the risk of losing momentum in the fight against their mutual enemy of ISIS.

Other reports by GizPress

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