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Led coalition downs Syrian warplane in 'self-defense'

19 June 2017

A US Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane after the Syrian jet dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) fighters on Sunday, the US military said in a statement. The action appears to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

And the USA has made it clear that we will protect our allies in the region in the fight against terrorism.

The coalition shot down a Syrian plane in self-defense after a regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF forces, the statement said. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa.

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"Following the Pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line" to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing", said a statement from Operation Inherent Resolve, the US -led coalition fighting ISIS.

By comparison, the Syrian army said its forces had been fighting IS in a statement released by the government-owned SANA agency.

The Combined Joint Task Force stressed that the coalition's mission is to defeat IS.

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The statement from the US-led coalition said it is operating in Syria to fight ISIS, which has taken over areas of Syria during the country's civil war, and not the Syrian regime or its partners. "The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat".

The shootdown is the latest escalation between the USA -led coalition and pro-regime Assad forces in Syria.

U.S. forces clashed earlier this month with Syria-allied aircraft in the region on June 8, when U.S. officials reported that a drone likely connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on US-backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet.

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The incident came as a monitoring group reported the first ground fighting between Syrian regime troops and the US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.