Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet

Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet

Russia has warned the US-led coalition fighting in Syria that it will view its aircraft as targets, after a Syrian military plane was shot down.

The coalition said it had shot down the Syrian Su-22 after it bombed US-backed fighters in Raqqa province on Sunday.

Russia, Syria's main ally, said it was also halting communications with the US aimed at preventing air incidents.

Syria condemned America's "flagrant attack", saying it would have "dangerous repercussions".

The incident comes at a time when the US-led coalition and the fighters its supporting on the ground are battling to oust so-called Islamic State (IS) from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.


The US-led coalition conducted what it said was a "show of force" - a reported buzzing of the pro-government troops by jets - to stop the attack and then called Russia to try to "de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

However, the Su-22 dropped bombs on SDF positions a few hours later, the coalition said, and "in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of coalition-partnered forces [the plane] was immediately shot down".

Attempts to warn the plane away using an emergency radio frequency failed, the US Central Command said.

Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet
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Both Russia and Syria say the warplane was on a mission against IS, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of Raqqa, when it came under fire.

The Syrian army said the incident would have "dangerous repercussions" on efforts to fight terrorism.

Russia said in its statement that the Syrian pilot had ejected over IS-controlled territory and "his fate remains unknown".

Despite Hollywood blockbusters showcasing aerial dogfights, they have almost vanished from modern warfare.

"The era of dogfighting is largely over," says Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, specialising in combat airpower.

"After the totally lopsided kill-to-loss ratio attained by the US Air Force and US Navy during the First Gulf War, it is a very rare thing for regimes under attack by the US and its allies to send fighters up in defence - since they know how it will end."

Although this is the first time the coalition has shot down a Syrian jet, there have been an increasing number of incidents between the two sides:

Separately on Sunday, Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched several missiles into eastern Syria, killing a "large number" of IS fighters. They said it was in response to an IS-claimed attack on the Iranian parliament earlier this month which killed more than a dozen people.



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