U.S. fighter jet shoots down enemy jet in first air-to-air battle in 18 years

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The fighting has gotten intense in Syria since a U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian pro-regime fighter jet on Sunday.

It’s been reported that the Syrian jet had dropped bombs on rebel forces fighting ISIS in Syria. This is the first time the U.S. military forces have engaged in air-to-air combat since 1999, when a U.S. Air Force F-16 shot down a Serbian Mig-29 during the Kosovo conflict.

According to a statement put out by the U.S.-led coalition, which is known as Operation Inherent Resolve, “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.”

An ABC News report stated, “The incident occurred in the town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqa, Syria, which had recently been retaken from ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish and Arab rebel forces supported by the U.S. in the fight against the militant group. SDF came under attack from regime forces in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad around 4:30 p.m. Syria time. A number of SDF fighters were wounded in the assault, and the SDF soon left Ja’Din.”

In a show of force, coalition aircraft stopped the initial advance of Pro-Syrian fighters.

According to Operation Inherent Resolve, “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. 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 U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet.”

Backed by Iran, pro-regime forces have moved into a de-confliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwest Syria, which is the location of a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS. During the past four weeks, the U.S. has launched three airstrikes against them.

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