Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time


For the first time, a USA fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian aircraft, after the Assad regime's Su-22 dropped bombs near US -backed rebels near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

The U.S. military said that it shot down a warplane that had dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) fighters.

It is the first time in the Syrian conflict that the US-led coalition has shot down a Syrian jet.

Moscow has condemned the United States downing of the Syrian government fighter jet after it dropped bombs near American partner forces.

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The Defence Ministry also said that it was suspending its interaction with the United States on preventing air incidents over Syria from June 19, the agencies reported. In September 2016, a coalition airstrike on Deir ez-Zor killed over 60 Syrian soldiers while in April 2017, US President Donald Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile strike on the Shayrat airbase, ostensibly in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons by the Syria government, though no concrete evidence of this has emerged.

The U.S. anti-ISIS mission noted that it repeatedly warned pro-Syrian regime forces over the now cut deconfliction channel.

The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its fighting terrorism across its territory", the army said.

Assad regime forces are backed by Russian Federation and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and by Shi'ite militia from Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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The Pentagon said Sunday a Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs on coalition-partnered fighters near the town of Tabqah.

Even before that battle is over, however, tensions have risen over control of eastern Syria as Iranian-backed militias, including the Lebanese group Hezbollah, have moved to extend their reach toward areas where the USA -based fighters are also operating.

It said it did did not seek "to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces" but would not "hesitate to defend itself or its "partnered forces from any threat".

Iran's focus is increasingly on the border region between Syria and Iraq.

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It said it had "contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line" to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing". The Syrian military added that the plane's pilot is now missing.