Following Sunday’s military altercation in which a U.S. F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 jet, Russia declared on Monday that it will regard as targets any U.S. or coalition aircraft that fly over its operating areas in western Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a statement claiming the following:
“Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets.”
Russia declared that the shooting down of the Syrian bomber was a “cynical violation of Syria’ sovereignty.”
“The U.S.’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a U.N. member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the ministry said.
On Sunday, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces came under attack from Syrian aircraft. During the attack, a number of Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers were wounded. Coalition aircraft responded to the attack and “conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the SDF-controlled town.”
In an effort to calm tensions following the attack, coalition officials contacted Russia on an established “de-confliction line” which is used to prevent incidents and ensure safe flights during operations in Syria.
Despite the diplomatic effort, at 6:43 p.m. Syrian time, a Syrian regime Su-22 jet began dropping bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces fighters south of Tabqah.
“In accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, [the Syrian plane] was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the statement read.
According to a Monday Tass report, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was shutting down the line of communication.
“As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the US side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the US command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken,” the statement said.
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