Russians to track US aircraft over Syria as ‘potential targets’
● Warning comes after air force jet shot down by Americans
from the Us-led coalition operating over government-controlled areas of Syria will be tracked as potential targets, Russia’s Defence Ministry said yesterday.
The warning came after the US military shot down a Syrian air force jet.
Moscow condemned the shooting down of the Syrian jet after it dropped bombs near the Us-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that are fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.
The downing of the war plane–thefirst time in the conflict that the US has shot down a Syrian jet – came as Iran fired several ballistic missiles at IS positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for two attacks by the extremists in Tehran earlier this month that killed 17 people.
Areas of northern Syria west of the euphrates were controlled by IS before Syrian government forces captured most of them in recent months.
The Russians appear to want to avoid further US targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under attack in eastern Syria recently.
Moscow also called on the US military to provide a full accounting of why it decided to shoot down the Syrian Su-22.
Russia, a key ally of Syrian president Bashar al-assad, has been providing an air cover to the government’s offensive since 2015.
But in April, Russia briefly suspended a hotline intended to prevent midair incidents with the US over Syria after the American military fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapwarplanes ons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government.
The US military confirmed that one of its F-18 Super Hornets shot down a Syrian Su-22 that had dropped bombs near the US partner forces SDF. Those forces, which are aligned with the US in the campaign against the Islamic State group, warned Syrian government troops to stop their attacks or face retaliation. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov compared the downing to “helping the terrorists that the US is fighting against”.
“What is this, if not an act of aggression?” he asked.
Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defence and security committee at the upper chamber of Russian parliament, described the Defence Minis- try’s statement as a warning. “I’m sure that because of this neither the US nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft,” he told the state-ownedria novo s ti news agency. “That’s why there’s no threat of direct confrontation between russia and american aircraft.”
Mr Ozerov insisted that Russia will be tracking the coalition’s jets, not shooting them down, but he added that “a threat for those jets may appear only if they take action that pose a threat to Russian aircraft.”
Meanwhile, opposition fighters said Assad’s forces have been attacking them in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.
Clashes between Syrian troops and the SDF would escalate tensions and open a new front line in the many complex battlefields of the civil war, which is now in its seventh year.
0 Moscow seems to want to avoid US targeting of Syrian warplanes