The downing of a Russian-built Su-22 attack plane by an US Navy jet on Saturday has prompted an increase in military tensions in Syria.
The US Navy jet, an F/A-18E Super Hornet model, shot down the Russian aircraft over the contested area of Raqqa in Syria.
The incident happened shortly after militia aligned with the Syrian regime launched an assault on the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-controlled town of Ja’Din.
Some SDF personnel sustained injuries during the ground assault. Soon after, the Russian jet commenced bombing runs on the area and was shot down by an F/A-18 on patrol.
The confrontation complied with current rules of engagement, according to Pentagon officials.
This is the first time that an US jet shoots down a Syrian aircraft since the US began operations against ISIS in the area. The city of Raqqa has been occupied by ISIS for a number of months.
Russian authorities have denounced the incident, deeming it an ‘act of aggression,’ and said that US air assets will be considered as valid ‘targets’ if they fly within certain zones in Syria.
A statement released by Russian authorities reads “From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets.“
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