United States responds to Russian threat after shoot-down of Syrian jet

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"At 6:43 p.m. (1743 GMT), a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet", the statement said.

"Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the worldwide coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets", Russia's Defense Ministry said in the statement.

Russian Federation denied that the United States had used a communications channel before the SU-22 bomber was downed, the ministry said, adding that it was suspending its interaction with the United States on preventing air incidents over Syria.

The unprecedented USA downing of a Syrian regime warplane highlights the rapidly shifting dynamic in the six-year conflict where President Donald Trump has given American commanders a freer rein in the battlefield.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in comments to Russian news agencies, compared the downing to "helping the terrorists that the U.S.is fighting against".

"If the regime continues it attacks on our positions in the province of Raqqa, we will be forced to reciprocate and use our legitimate right to defend our forces", SDF spokesperson Brig.

But if America has made a decision to use its air power to shoot down Syrian planes attacking rebels we support, this could lead to a confrontation with Russian Federation and a broader, more risky, and deadly war for the United States.

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Iran said the missile strike by its powerful Revolutionary Guard hit Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Sunday night and was in retaliation for two attacks in Tehran earlier this month that killed 17 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group.

The mounting violence around Raqqa and Syria's eastern border region illustrates the difficulty facing the administration as it seeks to simultaneously accomplish several sometimes conflicting tasks: fight Islamic State, coordinate and defend Syrian rebel groups that are trying to overthrow the government, and counter the influence of Iran, which, with Russian Federation, has backed the Assad government. Two top Revolutionary Guard commanders said that the strikes were meant to send a message to the perpetrators of militant attacks in Tehran last week - claimed by Islamic State - that killed 18 people, as well as their supporters.

After the shoot-down, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that it was a defensive action and did not seek "to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them". The agreement covers four zones in Syria where the rebels are fighting pro-government forces.

Speaking in Washington, the top USA military officer said the two sides were in delicate discussions to lower tensions.

They are moving increasingly east, we have already seen a couple of skirmishes between United States forces and Shi'a militias backed by Iran south of here. Clashes between the Kurdish-led SDF and Syrian forces have been rare and some rebel groups have even accused them of coordinating on the battlefield.

It was the first time an American fighter jet has shot down a Syrian aircraft in the civil war, with USA officials saying the action was taken to defend Washington-allied forces in the area. The Syrian Democratic Forces have been part of a large-scale offensive aimed at capturing Raqqa.

"I'm confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russia federation operations center - and I'm also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves", Dunford said.

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