Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Tensions rise in Syria as Russia, Iran send United States warnings

Australia has suspended its airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as a precaution after a USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane earlier this week.

Australia has six fighter jets based in the United Arab Emirates that strike targets in Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. military failed to use the communication line with Russia concerning this attack, despite the fact that Russian warplanes were also on a mission in Syrian airspace at the time, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Russian Federation has threatened aircraft from the US -led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline meant to avoid collisions in retaliation for the USA military shooting down a Syrian warplane.

A spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Ramazan Sharif, said all six ballistic missiles it launched on Syria hit their targets, according to "local sources and drone films".

In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the eastern neighborhood of Jobar was struck on Tuesday by 12 airstrikes, adding that government forces are trying to push into the area.

The truce that went into effect Saturday came after some of the worst fighting in months between rebels and pro-government forces.

However, the Pentagon states that the Syrian jet had dropped bombs near USA partner forces involved in the fight to extract Raqqa from Islamic State (ISIS) control. Daraa-based Ahmad al-Masalmeh confirmed the truce was extended Monday but did not know for how long.

Ozerov said the Russian Defense Ministry's stern reaction to the US attack gave him confidence "That neither the USA nor anyone else will take any actions that would threaten our aviation".

Throughout Syria's six-and-a-half year civil war, the United States has supported rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad's government and extremist groups like IS, while Russian Federation has backed Assad.

Russia said its warplanes were flying over Syria at the time of the shootdown and the USA failed to use the existing deconfliction channel between US military officers at al-Udeid air base in Qatar and Russian officers at Hemeimeem air base.

A spokesman for Australia's Defense Department said strike operations in Syria have temporarily ceased. Consequently, the Russian military halted cooperation with its USA counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria.

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