Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US shoots down Syrian Air Force fighter

US shoots down Syrian Air Force fighter

The US attack, the first downing of a manned Syrian aircraft, came as its coalition partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces fought intense ground battles with Syrian government allies around Taqba.

A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, "in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces", was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.

Meanwhile, Syria has slammed the incident as a "flagrant attack".

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.

Earlier, in 2016, the U.S. coalition expressed regret after killing 62 Syrian army in an airstrike, which was initially aimed for the IS.

And it has demanded a full account of why the United States military shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday.

Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace "cynically" violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.

Earlier, Syrian forces attacked coalition fighters in Ja'Din, wounding a number of fighters and driving them from the town.

Meanwhile, the USA -backed opposition fighters said Assad's forces have been attacking their positions in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.

The United States and Russian Federation, which has been providing an air cover for Syria's President Bashar Assad since 2015 in his offensive against the Islamic State group, have a standing agreement that should prevent in-the-air incidents involving US and Russian Federation jets engaged in operations in Syria. Coalition aircraft stopped the pro-regime forces from advancing on Ja'Din.

The co-operation had been halted after the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat airbase in April in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province.

Now Washington is extending this protection to forces that it backs who are engaged in the offensive against Raqqa.

The rebel force reportedly targeted by the Syrian Su-22 on Sunday - the SDF - is a USA -backed alliance comprising Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen factions. The military said the plane crashed and the pilot is missing.

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