Conflict Between US & Russia Over Downing Of Syrian Aircraft
Above Photo: A U.S. F-18 Super Hornet. (U.S. Air Force)
Note: The Guardian reports that in response to the US shooting down a Syrian government plane, Russia has responded by warning that any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river over Syria, Russia’s defence ministry said it had been given no warning by the US, and that as a consequence it was also suspending coordination over the “de-confliction zones” that were created to prevent in-the-air incidents involving US and Russian jets.
“Early on Monday, in the first Russian response to the incident, the deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said: ‘This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law. “What is this if not an act of aggression? It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy.’’”
The Guardian explains the positions of the US and Syria regarding this incident: “The US military confirmed that a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet had shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday. The US said the Syrian jet had dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters who are aligned with the Americans in the fight against Isis. Damascus said its plane had been on anti-Isis mission.”
Russia Today reported that:
Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace “cynically” violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.
The actions of the US Air Force are in fact “military aggression” against Syria, the statement adds.
“The ministry emphasized that Russian warplanes were on a mission in Syrian airspace during the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian Su-22, while the coalition failed to use the communication line to prevent an incident.
:‘The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.’
“The ministry considers the move ‘a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria,’ and is thus halting cooperation with the US within the memorandum framework as of June 19, the statement concluded.”
This conflict could be about who controls Raqua when it is liberated from ISIS. The US may want the Syrian Democratic Forces to control the area, which would essentially mean Kurdish control of part of Syria. Of course Syria wants to control cities in its borders. This could be part of a US plan to divide Syria.
US Shoots Down Syrian Government Aircraft Over Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict.
The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa.
The U.S. military statement said it acted in “collective self defense” of its partner forces and that the U.S. did not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters.
According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the town, the Pentagon said. Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts “to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,” according to the statement.
A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces,” was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.
“The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group. “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.”
U.S. forces tangled earlier this month with Syria-allied aircraft in the region. On June 8, U.S. officials reported that a drone likely connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on U.S.-backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet. The incident took place in southern Syria near a base where the U.S.-led coalition was training Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group.
An Army spokesman at the Pentagon said at the time that the drone carried more weapons and was considered a direct threat, prompting the shootdown.