In what is being characterized as an act sure to further escalate already alarming tensions between the United States, Syria, and Russian Federation, an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane over Raqqa on Sunday, prompting Moscow to cut off its deconfliction channel with the U.S.
The US said the downed Syrian plane had dropped bombs near fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters battling to capture Raqqa from IS. Damascus said its plane had been on anti-Isis mission.
On Monday, Russia's Ministry of Defense accused the USA of "a cynical violation" of Syria's sovereignty, saying that Russian aircraft had also been carrying out combat missions in the same region - and that the coalition didn't use the deconfliction channels.
The developments added to already-soaring regional tensions and reflect the intensifying rivalry among the major players in Syria's civil war that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the Islamic State group in its stronghold of Raqqa is gaining ground.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the attack, branding it an act of aggression which actually helped the terrorists the United States is fighting against.
In a statement, the Syrian military described the downing of its plane as an act of "blatant aggression" on the part of the United States and accused the U.S. of coordinating with ISIS. Dunford said Monday, June 19, 2017, that Washington and Moscow are in delicate discussions to tamp down tensions arising from the USA shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet, which the Russians called a violation of a U.S.
In a move that will fan tensions between Washington and Moscow, Russia made clear it was changing its military posture in response to the US downing of the jet.
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On June 18, a fighter jet belonging to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime bombed the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the Raqqa province, near the de facto ISIS capital.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said due to the incident, it was suspending a hotline between Russia and the US that was established to avoid mid-air collisions.
Moscow has previously threatened to scrap the deconfliction line, after an April 7 USA cruise missile strike on a Syrian regime airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack against civilians.
A U.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornet took out the Su-22 bomber Sunday, marking the U.S.'s first air-to-air kill since the early 1990s during the Gulf War.
National Defence says it is monitoring the situation, but otherwise won't comment on where the planes have been flying in Syria and whether they are in any danger. Coalition aircraft stopped the pro-regime forces from advancing on Ja'Din.
On Sunday, a USA jet shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter-bomber near the city of Tabqah.
Silo accused regime forces of launching "large-scale attacks using aircraft, artillery, and tanks" on the US-backed SDF since Saturday in the Tabqa area.