U.S. fells 2nd aircraft this week over Syria

Cheryl Sanders
June 26, 2017

A U.S. F-15 fighter aircraft shot down an Iranian-made drone over southern Syria on Tuesday, the Defense Department said, marking the fifth time the USA has attacked pro-Syrian government assets within a month.

Davis told reporters what coalition officials have said publicly to all parties: that the coalition will not tolerate demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition or partner forces in Syria who are conducting legitimate operations to defeat ISIS.

The coalition then said that amid recent developments related to the deconfliction line with Russian Federation, it will not allow pro-Syrian government aircraft to threaten or closely approach its forces. This is the same location where another pro-regime drone dropped munitions near coalition forces before it was shot down June 8.

Meanwhile, Australia's military military said on Tuesday it was temporarily halting air missions over Syria, following the shooting down of a Syrian jet by US forces on Sunday.

Moscow said it was suspending an incident hotline set up two years ago and warned that it would consider worldwide aircraft operating in central Syria "aerial targets". "When the armed UAV continued to advance on the Coalition position without diverting its course it was shot down", the statement said.

On the other hand, Russia, along with Iran, has been assisting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.

Tanf is the town on Syrian border with Jordan where U.S. troops are imparting training to Syrian rebels, officially described as "partner ground forces" in the fight against ISIS.

That warning came after the U.S. shot down a Syrian military plane.

The Russian Defense Ministry said: "Repeated combat actions by USA aviation under the cover of counter-terrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the United Nations are a massive violation of global law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic".

A defense official says the drone was approaching a military camp near the Syria-Jordan border. The US-led coalition said the Syrian aircraft attacked Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions, adding that the coalition downed the Syrian jet as part of "collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces".

Immediately after the Syrian Su-22 fighter jet dropped its bombs, two American F/A-18E Super Hornets, flying from the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, engaged, firing a AIM-9 Sidewinder - a short-range air-to-air missile - at the Syrian plane from about half a mile away, two USA officials told CNN. If the U.S. seeks to defend rebel forces that it supports by that very fact it is bound to fight the Syrian regime whenever the regime comes into conflict with those forces.

Despite the increasing number of incidents, analysts say neither Syria's regime nor Washington now wants a major confrontation.

The UK Ministry of Defence said it would continue its operations against Isis as part of the US-led coalition in Syria. Despite US assurances that strikes a few months ago against a Shi'ite militia in the country's southeast were a one-time deal, those strikes have grown increasingly common.

Moscow also halted a military hotline with Washington over the incident, meant to prevent confrontations in Syria's crowded air space.

At the same time, two U.S. officials told CNN television that an American F-15E fighter shot down drones on Monday, June 19, 55 kilometers from the border of the de-confliction zone.

Robert Ford, who served as the US's envoy to Syria under former United States president Barack Obama, made the remarks in an interview with the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

US aircraft conducted a show of force, including strafing runs near the regime positions, "so they stopped their aggressive and threatening movements", Davis said.

Other reports by iNewsToday