Tensions Rise- Russia Threatens US Aircraft over Syria

By Faye Higbee

Remember yesterday’s report of the conflicted mess in Syria after Iran launched missiles and we shot down a plane belonging to Assad’s forces? According to several news sources, Russia once again suspended the hotline (“deconfliction channel”) intended to avoid problems between them and the US. They also threatened to shoot down any coalition drone or aircraft operating in Syrian controlled airspace West of the Euphrates.

The US shot down the Syrian Air Force jet, in what was considered an air-to air “kill.” The jet had been dropping bombs near the US backed rebel forces. The Assad aircraft was warned repeatedly to stop, and when it continued, a US Super Hornet fighter jet engaged the Syrian jet and shot it down.

“It’s important to point out that the incident that took place this weekend followed a combined arms movement by pro-regime forces. Subsequently, an SU [Russian-made Syrian regime] aircraft flew into the area. We made every effort to warn those individuals not to come any closer. The commander made a judgment there was a threat to the forces we were supporting and took action.” General Dunford

AP reported,

“The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that as of Monday, all coalition jets and drones flying west of the Euphrates River will be tracked as potential targets.

Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by IS before Syrian government forces captured most of them in recent months. The Russians, who have been providing air cover for Assad’s forces since 2015, appear to want to avoid further U.S. targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under U.S. attack in eastern Syria recently.”

General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said that he would work to reestablish the agreement between the US and Russia. He also stated that the “hotline” was still in operation, which conflicted with other news reports.

“The Russian Federation has indicated that their purpose in Syria, like ours, is to defeat Isis, and we’ll see if that’s true here in the coming hours.” General Dunford

Hopefully, the agreement will be reinstated. We’ve never actually shot down a Syrian jet before during this conglomeration of nations, and this sounds like a justified incident. Whether or not Russia will view it as that remains to be seen.

Russia is demanding a “full accounting” of the incident and why the Syrian jet was shot down.

“We won’t let anyone do to our pilots what they did to the Syrian plane. We will track these targets, and at the first threat to the well being and life of our military or the loss of our aircraft we could well move from tracking [them] to destroying [them]. But we’re counting on not having to go that far.” Viktor Ozerov, Russian Defense and Security Committee

We’re hoping you won’t go that far also.