WASHINGTON: Tensions are escalating in Syria after US military shot down a Syrian air force fighter plane for the first time ever and Russia announced, in retaliation, it will treat “all flying objects” belonging to the American-led coalition as “targets” in some parts of the strife-torn West Asian nation.
This would be the second time Moscow had suspended the hotline in recent months. The first was in March and it followed punitive missile strikes ordered by US President Donald Trump on an airbase used by the Syrian air force to carry out an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held city.
Adding to the new escalation, Tehran said it had launched multiple missiles against Islamic State positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for the attacks carried out by the terrorists on the Iranian parliament on June 7 in which 16 people were killed.
The Russian announcements came in response to the downing of the Syrian air force plane, which was the first time for US after it began fighting the IS in Syria leading a coalition of international forces in 2014.
“All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defence systems as targets,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
“The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”
The Us-led Operation Inherent Resolve, said on Sunday its aircraft had first conducted a show of force in support of fighters of the rebel Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) that had come attack from the Syrian government forces earlier in the day in town called Ja’din, South of Tabqah.
And using the “deconfliction line”, the US asked Russia to “de-escalate the situation and stop the firing”.
Later, a Syrian air force plane, Russian-made Su-22, dropped bombs near SDF fighters in Tabqah and, the coalition said, “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces, (the Syrian plane) was immediately shot down by a US F/A18E Super Hornet”.