Russia has warned US and coalition forces it will shoot down any aircraft or drones encroaching on its area of operations in western Syria.
The Russian ministry of defense said it is now treating any coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates as targets following the downing of a Syrian jet.
Russia said it was suspending co-ordination with the US involving ‘de-confliction zones’ after a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22.
A US F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian regime SU-22 fighter bomber over Ja’Din, South of Tabqa on Sunday afternoon after it dropped bombs near US-backed rebels fighting ISIS
The US-fighter jet was defending Syrian Democratic Forces operating near Ja’Din, south of Tabqa, Syria, pictured here on June 14
Russia has been providing air cover for Bashar Al-Assad’s troops since 2015 and have deployed its advance S-400 Growler air defence system in the Latakia Airbase on the Syrian coast.
The Growler has a range of 250 miles and can hit targets up to an altitude of 90,000 feet.
The Russian defence ministry said in a statement that it was suspending the deal after the US military confirmed that it downed a Syrian air force fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near US partner forces.
The ministry said it views the incident as Washington’s ‘deliberate failure to make good on its commitments’ under the de-confliction deal.
The Pentagon admitted it shot down the Syrian jet after it ignored a show of force and a warning against attacking US-supported ground troops near Ja’Din, south of Tabqa on Sunday afternoon.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday condemned the US for the strike, describing it as an act of aggression.
‘This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law,’ Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow, according to the TASS state news agency. ‘What is this if not an act of aggression?’
Russia has deployed its most-advanced air defense missile system, the S-400 Growler to Syria. The system has a range of 250 miles and can hit targets up to an altitude of 90,000 feet
The Growler has been deployed to Latakia Airbase on the coast and covers most of Syria
Pro-Assad forces attacked the SDF at around 4:30 pm, local time, injuring several soldiers and forcing them to leave Ja’Din, the Pentagon says.
The attack prompted the SDF to call the Russian army to stop firing and ‘de-escalate’ the shooting.
‘Following the Pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established ‘de-confliction line’ to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,’ said a statement from U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, Operation Inherent Resolve.
‘At 6:43 p.m., a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet.’
The Syrian government issued a statement after its military plane was shot down, accusing the United States army of supporting terrorism.
‘This flagrant violation shows there is no doubt of the fact that the American stance supports terrorism,’ the regime said in its statement. ‘It exposes the devious intentions of America in running terrorism and investing in it in order to pursue its Zionist-American project in the region.’
The Pentagon said the Syrian regime jet was bombing its partners south of Raqqa
The pilot manning the aircraft flying was hit, according to the Syrian army, but his condition is unknown.
The United States Army reiterated in its statement that its sole purpose was to defeat ISIS and not to fight with the regime.
The statement said: ‘The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat.
‘The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.’
Both sides have been competing over who will reclaim Raqqa, the ISIS capital. The SDF announced just two weeks ago that it was launching its campaign to capture the town, and only a week later, the Syrian regime also said it was beginning its offense.
The US-led coalition as well as the pro-Assad regime have had shoot outs and launched airstrikes against each other in recent weeks.
Both the US-backed and pro-Assad forces have clashed in recent weeks after both announced, within a week of each other, that they were launching their campaigns to reclaim Raqqa, the capital of ISIS. Pictured are graduates of a U.S.-trained police force who are expected to be deployed in Raqqa