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United States says it shot down Iranian-made drone in Syria

20 June 2017

The Syrian government, which counts Russian Federation as its most important ally, condemned the "flagrant attack" and said it would have "dangerous repercussions".

The Ministry of Defense said that it was suspending a hotline communications channel with the US -led coalition, meant to deconflict airspace and avoid unintentional conflict in the crowded war zone.

Australia has halted air operations over Syria after Russian Federation said it would target US-led coalition planes in retaliation for a Navy fighter jet shooting down a Syrian warplane.

Various planes and warships from the two countries have buzzed by each other in high-profile incidents over the last few months.

Russian Federation made clear it was changing its military posture in response to the USA downing of a Syrian military jet on Sunday, which, according to Damascus, is the first such incident since the start of the conflict in 2011.

The location was close to where another "pro-regime UAV" drone, which Western intelligence sources said was Iranian, was shot down on June 8 after dropping bombs near coalition forces, the statement said.

The downing of the jet and Russia's response came as the US-led coalition and allied fighters battle to oust the Islamic State jihadist group from its Syrian bastion Raqa.

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Australia has suspended its air campaigns over Syria after a United States aircraft shot down a Syrian military jet, prompting the Russian military's suspension of incident prevention channels and an announcement that airborne objects would be tracked west of the Euphrates, local media cited the Australian Defense Department as saying Tuesday.

Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by IS before Syrian government forces captured majority in recent months.

Weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian military forces to Syria in September 2015 to prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad, Russia and the USA signed a memorandum on preventing air incidents between the two countries.

The ministry also called on the USA military to provide a full account of why it chose to shoot down the Syrian SU-22.

Russian authorities have denounced the incident, deeming it an "act of aggression, ' and said that U.S. air assets will be considered as valid 'targets" if they fly within certain zones in Syria.

"The worst thing any of us could do right now is address this with hyperbole", Dunford said.

Dunford also said the USA would be working to re-establish the "deconfliction" zone with Syria.

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Russian Federation is threatening to shoot down U.S. aircraft and has suspended United States coordination after the USA downed a Syrian fighter.

"The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat Daesh in Syria poses globally".

Tensions rose as Iran also launched missiles at Isis targets in the east of the country, reigniting a row with Washington over a section of the Syria-Iraq border.

"The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message", Gen. Ramazan Sharif of the IRGC told state television.

It also raised questions about how U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which had previously put Iran "on notice" for its ballistic missile tests, will respond. While Washington had given Moscow an advance notice of the strike, Moscow was angered, saying that the offensive had moved the two sides within inches of direct conflict.

That escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Russian Federation seems to be the reason why Australia has temporarily backed off of aerial missions over Syria.

"They were threatening our forces on the ground", a United States military official told AFP.

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United States says it shot down Iranian-made drone in Syria