Russia Threatens to Target US Aircraft After Navy Downs Syrian Warplane

June 20, 2017

< 1 min read

On the same day that Iran fired ground-to-ground ballistic missiles into eastern Syria, a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet downed a Syrian SU-22 warplane, prompting Russia’s defense ministry to announce its suspension of coordination with the U.S. in Syrian “de-confliction zones.”

According to reports, the Syrian plane was shot down near the village of Rasafah after it dropped bombs on positions of American-supported rebels. Syrian state media said the plane crashed, and the pilot is missing.

U.S. Central Command officials said the Syrian plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces.” Before downing the Syrian plane, coalition forces contacted “its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established ‘de-confliction line’ to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing.”

The Russian defense ministry said it views the incident as America’s “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” in de-confliction zones, warning it would, “view as targets any flying objects over Syria in the areas of the country where its air forces operate.”

American officials maintain there is no direct connection between the downing of the Syrian warplane and the Iranian missile strike on eastern Syria.

Earlier in June, an American F-15E downed an Iranian-made drone after it attacked American fighters in Syria.

Similar to the U.S., Israel also has an agreement with Russia to avoid conflicts over the skies of Syria. This mechanism was established between the two countries shortly after Russia began its involvement in Syria in late 2015. Israel periodically carries out airstrikes targeting the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

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