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Tensions Rise After U.S. Downs Syrian Military Jet

by Countable | 6.19.17

An American jet shot down a Syrian military aircraft on Sunday, heightening tensions between the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and the Russian-backed Assad regime. Russia’s defense ministry said its anti-aircraft missile batteries will now track coalition jets as targets, and temporarily stop using a communication channel aimed at preventing accidents occurring between coalition and Russian forces.

What happened?

The Dept. of Defense said that forces loyal to the Assad regime were engaged with coalition fighters in a village near the besieged ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, prompting the U.S. to use a "deconfliction" channel to notify Russia and deescalate the situation. U.S. jets then brought the fighting to a stop by flying slowly close to the ground in a “show of force,” but hours later a Syrian jet flew in and bombed the coalition troops, primarily Arabs and Kurds with the Syrian Democratic Forces.

American aircraft attempted to contact the Syrian aircraft after it dropped its payload, but when it didn’t respond a F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down the Syrian Su-22 jet in accordance with its rules of engagement, killing the pilot. It marked the first time a U.S. aircraft has shot down an enemy plane since 1999, when a Air Force F-15 downed a Serbian jet over Kosovo.

The aftermath

Russia’s defense ministry issued a terse statement saying the coalition "did not use the established communication channel for preventing incidents in Syrian airspace" and that the ministry “ends co-operation with the American side” through that channel. It added that:

"Any flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, discovered west of the Euphrates river will be tracked as aerial targets by Russia’s air defences on and above ground.”

U.S. Central Command issued a statement reiterating that U.S. aircraft acted within the rules of engagement in defense of coalition forces, and responded to Russia’s threat with the following:

"The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 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 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford added in a speech Monday that the U.S. will continue to communicate with Russia and American forces will defend themselves:

"I’m confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russian federation operations center — and I’m also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves.”

Tell your reps what you think of these developments using the Take Action button.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force / Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(30)
  • AlexRoseSc
    06/20/2017
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    I'm sorry but this action coming from THE DONALD TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is so so so so so far BEYOND alarming and should ring a bell for EVERYONE that knows their history; and if you don't, just do some research. This is so incredibly alarming and definitely will not and CANNOT results in what this man is so clearly hoping for (some may say counting on). America, we are better than this! Do not let yourselves be misled and misguided by this unhinged poor excuse of a man (much less a president of the United States)!!!!

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  • Pat
    06/19/2017
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    Please handle with diplomacy. No more wars.

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  • Kyler
    06/19/2017
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    We need to avoid war and use diplomacy. See past our interests that usually have nothing to do with our national security and all with serving elite special interests; business and elites military brass. We say support the troops only to throw them into a conflict that can be resolved through a political solution. Right now we are trying to fight an ally of Iran who we accuse them of hating the US, when we have Iran surrounded and we have toppled their elected government during the 50s for oil. We need to take a hard look at ourselves and see how we create conflict and destruction in the world.

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  • Deirdre
    06/20/2017
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    This is unacceptable. What is going on in DC? Do you all really want to start WW3?

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  • Luke
    06/19/2017
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    The very last thing the world needs is a US vs Russia war. Tensions will build faster than they'll dissolve, and the actions of our two nations will have global implications.

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  • Cheryl
    06/20/2017
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    We do NOT need to get into the Syrian conflict that could lead to conflict with Russian! We must proceed with CAUTION in our international relations and conflicts!

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  • Ticktock
    06/19/2017
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    The Russians and Syrian Government have very different objectives from the objectives established by the US Government and our allies. The intent of the Russian Government has been to prop up the Syrian Government with a secondary mission to destabilize ISIS. The US and our allies' mission has been to defeat ISIS but has also apposed al Assad continued rule of Syria. There is a basic conflict between the Russian and US mission. Once ISIS is defeated as a State entity al Assad and al Assad's enemies (our allies) will still be at war. At that point what will our mission become? Russia may be sending warning of their eventual opposition and willingness for direct conflict to achieve their goal. For now protect ourselves and our allies and take whatever steps necessary actions to do that but once ISIS is gone....

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  • Marylynn
    06/20/2017
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    This is the mentality of the administration's comment about "there's a new sheriff in town". This mentality isn't any better than that of Putin, Un, Bashar al-Assad, and all the other dictators around the world. The "Liar in Chief" is stirring the pot in countries where it's already boiling over. This administration doesn't know the meaning of diplomacy.

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  • William
    06/19/2017
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    Diplomacy only works if both sides are willing, not if one side bombs the other

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  • Chris
    06/20/2017
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    Come home America.

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  • Michelle
    06/19/2017
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    Good job....

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  • Brent
    06/19/2017
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    Continue to protect our interests. If it means defending our coalition forces and risking an altercation with others, so be it. We are America, and we are finally acting like it again.

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  • Sean
    06/19/2017
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    I feel confident that a Russia/US war will never happen. China, EU, US, Russia, etc we're too civilized and politically active/aware to have such a large scale war now. It's the MidEast causing such problems

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  • Grant
    06/20/2017
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    Trump's lack of engagement in appropriate oversight of our military and his continued tarnishing of our name internationally will lead us into greater and greater peril. Please take appropriate actions to provide oversight.

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  • Barbara
    06/20/2017
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    The issue will likely pass. A Syrian jet firing on coalition forces can happen in the "fog of war." Our jet followed the rules of engagement which is all anyone can ask.

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  • Karen
    06/20/2017
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    Please don't let 45 start a war with Syria. His Administration has used the "just too new to politics" card to cover his stupidity. We can't afford to let him decide what to do in the global arena

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  • LiamChum
    06/20/2017
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    To all the liberals that think love will win everything even armed conflicts, YOU ARE INSANE! Would loving hitler bring peace and freedom to Europe? No it would bring slavery and genocide. Would loving the USSR bring peace and freedom? No it would bring starvation and tyranny! So will loving terrorists make them go away? No!!!!! Instead of writing letter to them of how we fell sorry for them we should kill 1000 of them for every 1 the kill of us! You don't win wars against people that hate you by sitting around twiddling your thumbs!

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  • Michael
    06/20/2017
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    They shot down a Syrian Plane after the plane had attacked U.S. backed forces. Most of the comments I read leave that fact out, we didn't just attack out of stupidity, we returned fire. Unfortunately we can't just use "diplomacy" in every situation, this doesn't mean we are starting a war, the Syrian regime has constantly bombed US back forces for some time, while also bombing ISSI.

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  • Lori
    06/20/2017
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    The orange idiot is going to lead us into WWIII. He needs to be impeached and the sooner the better. Too many lives are at stake, both militarily and civilian.

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  • Micaiah
    06/20/2017
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    Everyone is screaming that we should stop wars with diplomacy. The problem is, as nice as complete peace would be, it is unrealistic to believe that everyone else will always want to be diplomatic. We need to focus on protecting our own country because everyone else is focused on protecting theirs.

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