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Russia, Turkey, Iran to take part in Astana meeting on Syria

21 Juin 2017

The US believes it has the right to occupy a part of Syria and demands that a de-confliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwest Syria where there is a coalition training base for forces fighting the Islamic State not be entered by Syrian government forces.

That led Russian Federation, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, to warn that it would target USA -led coalition planes flying west of the Euphrates River.

The announcement from Canberra came as a brief, two-day truce collapsed in the southern Syrian city of Daraa and nearby areas where government forces have gained ground.

"Hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated", the coalition statement read.

On Sunday, the U.S. shot down a Syrian plane that had dropped bombs near its ground-partnered Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) south of Tabqa about two hours after SDF fighters were wounded in an earlier attack by pro-Syrian regime forces in Ja'Din.

A statement by the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the us "atack was an attempt to undermine efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory..."

The Russian Ministry of Defense called the downing of the plane "a cynical violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic" and "military aggression".

"In both cases, it would also be likely to draw various forms of Syrian, Russian, Iranian, Iraqi, and of course jihadi resistance", Lund said.

The US-led coalition in the Middle East is looking shaky after Australia suspended all air operations over Syria in the face of Russian threats and an escalation of tensions in the region. In a statement, the Syrian military described the downing of its plane as an act of "blatant aggression" on the part of the United States and accused the U.S. of coordinating with ISIS.

A USA fighter jet shot down a pro-regime drone near al-Tanf in southeastern Syria, just outside the de-confliction zone according to the officials.

US shoots down another pro-regime drone in Syria
The Air Force F-15 first intercepted the Iranian-made drone and shot it down as it continued to advance, the coalition said. The U.S. spy plane was in worldwide airspace when the Russian jet closed in for an intercept.

"But will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat", the statement said.

The Pentagon insisted it was not seeking to escalate the conflict and had acted only after the Syrian jet in question had dropped bombs near United States partner forces involved in the fight to wrest Raqqa from Isis control.

The official was not authorized to be quoted by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said it launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan.

Subsequent U.S. airstrikes hit a convoy and a base of pro-Assad troops and later carried out another raid in the same area, followed by shooting down a drone believed connected to Iranian-supported forces.

The aim is "to ensure that they can't easily be excluded, and that they remain on track to ultimately retake the entirety of the country", Heller said.

It was the first time a U.S. military downed a Syrian warplane in the six years of civil war in the country.

In Canberra, a Defense Department statement said on Tuesday that "Australian Defense Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats".

Spicer added that the USA wants to de-escalate the situation in Syria "but will always preserve the right of self-defense".