Russia warns US as Syrian jet shot down in Raqqa

Russia – which backs Syrian dictator president Bashar Assad – threatened to treat any plane from the US-led Coalition flying west of the Euphrates as a “target”. 

It also suspended a hotline which allows the Coalition and Russia to ensure its planes do not clash in the crowded skies over Syria. 

Syria, which claimed its bomber was attacking Islamic State, said the pilot is missing and warned of “dangerous repercussions”. 

The aircraft came down over IS capital Raqqa. It means British warplanes flying out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are at risk of being shot down by Russia as they bomb IS in Raqqa. 

At the same time Iran, which also backs Assad, fired six missiles into IS targets in Eastern Syria in revenge for the terror group’s attack on the Iranian parliament last week. 

The row with Russia began on Sunday when a US F/A-18E Super Hornet from an aircraft carrier shot down the Syrian army SU-22 Fitter after it bombed an area near US-backed Syrian rebel forces. 

The US Central Command said the Syrian plane was downed “in collective self-defence of Coalition-partnered forces,” identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqah. 

It said that “pro-Syrian regime forces” had earlier attacked an SDFheld town and wounded a number of fi ghters. 

The US said it had staged a show of force to “de-escalate the situation and stop the firing”. But it said the Su-22 then dropped bombs on SDF fighting IS near Raqqa – and was immediately shot down. 

The US statement said the Coalition does “not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces” but would not “hesitate to defend itself” or its “partnered forces”. 

Russia’s Defence ministry said the US had not contacted it before shooting down the plane, in breach of international law. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US action was an “act of aggression in support of terrorists”. 

Theresa May yesterday called on Russia to continue the use of “decon-fliction” measures over the skies of Syria to reduce the risk of misunderstandings in the airspace. 

And a Government spokesman added: “We want all parties to focus on the fight against Daesh (IS) in Iraq and Syria.”

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Daily Express :: World Feed

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