Russian Federation says 'may target United States planes' over Syria

Cesar Mills
June 20, 2017

Moscow terminated its communication channel with the United States under a memorandum for preventing incidents in Syria's skies, as a effect for the USA downing a Syrian Su-22 plane, Russia's Defense Ministry reported on Monday.

Weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian military forces to Syria in September 2015 to prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad, Russia and the USA signed a memorandum on preventing air incidents between the two countries.

The United States said the Syrian army plane shot down on Sunday had dropped bombs near fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a USA -backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters battling to capture the city of Raqqa from IS.

"Australian Defence Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats", it said.

The Russian Defense Ministry called the attack an act of "military aggression" and pledged to halt cooperation with USA forces in response.

Australia is a member of the US -led worldwide coalition fighting the Islamic State.

From now on, all aircraft and drones of the coalition detected west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian air- and ground-based air defense systems as targets, the ministry warned.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it was also scrapping a Syrian air safety agreement with Washington created to avoid collisions and unsafe incidents with immediate effect.

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The Russian ministry said it views the incident as Washington's "deliberate failure to make good on its commitments" under the de-confliction deal.

Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense and security committee in the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament, said that Moscow will be tracking the coalition's jets, not shooting them down, and added that "a threat for those jets may appear only if they take action that pose [s] a threat to Russian aircraft".

Communications between the two sides also were cut off in April after the USA launched 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, although the U.S. and Russian Federation agreed to resume the hotline last month.

Iran, which arms and assists Mr. Assad on the ground, vowed further Syrian regime attacks against SDF, all but daring USA planes to respond amid the Russian threat. This month, an American warplane almost shot down a Syrian SU-22 that appeared to be maneuvering to drop bombs on American-backed Syrian fighters, but the Syrian aircraft dumped its munitions in the desert and zoomed away.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov called it a "continuation of America's line to disregard the norms of worldwide law", adding: "What is this if not an act of aggression?"

The Syrian army said the jet was shot down while flying a mission against Islamic State.

"What is this, if not an act of aggression", he said.

Other reports by GizPress

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