World Media

USA shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

USA shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

A United States jet has shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by forces backing the Syrian government in the south of the country, American officials say.

Russian Defense Ministry has denounced the United States aggression and violation of Syria's sovereignty with the attack on the SU-22 fighter jet, whose pilot was catapulted, but his whereabouts are still unknown.

The U.S. -led anti-Daesh coalition has been training partner forces at a garrison located in at-Tanf, which sits on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The U.S. action also comes two days after a U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian plane that was attacking U.S. -backed forces near Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital.

The downing of the warplane - the first time in the six-year conflict that the US has shot down a Syrian jet - came amid another first: Iran fired several ballistic missiles Sunday night at IS positions in eastern Syria in what it said was a message to archrival Saudi Arabia and the United States.

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The U.S. military has repeatedly warned forces fighting on Assad's side to stay away from a "deconfliction zone", agreed with Russian Federation, near a garrison used by U.S. special forces and U.S. -backed militia around Al Tanf.

The US and Russia have both intervened in the Syrian civil war, with America opposed to the government of [Bashir al-Assad] and the Russians determined to maintain his position in the region.

The incident also happened after the 45th annual BALTOPS military exercise, in which the U.S. and 13 other western countries participated, over the Baltic Sea from June 1-16.

This effort to work with partners, however, doesn't mean that the US won't down Syrian aircraft if necessary.

Tuesday's statement from the worldwide coalition stressed that the global effort remained focused on ISIS but said that coalition forces had the right to self-defense.

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It said that several hours earlier, regime forces had attacked the SDF in another town near Tabqa, wounding several and driving the SDF from the town. "This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8".

Last week, another Iranian-made drone flown by pro-regime forces was shot down after it dropped munitions close to USA and partner forces. Australia said its sorties in Iraq would continue as part of the coalition.

"Given recent events, the coalition will not allow pro-regime aircraft to threaten or approach in close proximity to coalition and partnered forces", it said. Before that attack, USA officials informed their Russian counterparts.

The suspension comes amid increasing tension between the USA and Russia, with Russian officials describing the incident as a risky escalation.

An army statement said the airplane pilot was missing.

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