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Australia lifts suspension of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria

22 Juin 2017

The downing of the drone came on the same day Australia announced it would temporarily suspended airstrikes by its forces in Syria after a us fighter jet shot down a Syrian jet, and Syrian ally Russian Federation threatened to target planes from the USA -led coalition operating in the skies over Syria.

A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone near At Tanf, Syria, on Monday, two USA officials told CNN, the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month.

"The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces", a statement read.

The incident took place after a series of clashes between pro-regime troops and the US-backed anti-ISIS group, the Syrian Democratic Forces, near the SDF-held town of Ja'Din, just south of Tabqah, Syria.

The statement said the location was close to where another "pro-regime" drone - which intelligence sources separately identified as Iranian - was shot down on June 8 after dropping bombs near coalition forces.

The Air Force F-15 first intercepted the Iranian-made drone and shot it down as it continued to advance, the coalition said.

Immediately after the Syrian Su-22 fighter jet dropped its bombs, two American F/A-18E Super Hornets, flying from the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, engaged, firing a AIM-9 Sidewinder - a short-range air-to-air missile - at the Syrian plane from about half a mile away, two USA officials told CNN.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Minsitry reported that the global coalition's aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles west of the Euphrates in Syria would be tracked by Russia's air defenses after a Syrian fighter had been shot down by a United States warplane.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "all countries must fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria" but the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says that, given Russia is such a staunch supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, this is a muted response.

On Sunday, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they had fired mid-range ground-to-ground missiles from a site in western Iran targeting "the headquarters and meeting place and suicide auto assembly line" of "IS terrorists" in Deir al-Zour province.

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Meanwhile, the US and Russian militaries swapped accusations about an unsafe intercept involving a USA spy plane and a Russian fighter jet over the Baltic Sea.

This hope has led to numerous armed confrontations between the U.S., Iran, and Syria.

The downing of an aircraft belonging to its ally led Russian Federation to threaten to cut channels with the US created to prevent their air forces inadvertently targeting one another. While the Assad government said the plane was on a mission against Islamic State militants, the USA claimed it dropped bombs near U.S. forces.

Marine General Joseph Dunford said there were still communications between a USA air operations center in Qatar and Russian forces on the ground in Syria, adding: "We'll work diplomatically and military in the coming hours to re-establish deconfliction".

And two further incidents on Monday look set to heighten tensions between the USA and Russian Federation further.

A US F-15 fighter jet opened fire on the drone in the early afternoon because it was approaching a United States outpost near al-Tanf where U.S. advisors were training an anti-Isis local militia, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Capt Jeff Davis.

Meanwhile Iran's military said Sunday that it has launched several medium range ballistic missiles into eastern Syria, targeting ISIS fighters in retaliation for twin attacks that rocked Tehran on June 7.

The Syrian military said that their plane was carrying out a combat mission against ISIS when it was shot down.

Daraa is where Syria's crisis first broke out in March 2011 as an uprising against Assad's government.

The U.S. military is training its local allied forces near Syria's border with Iraq and Jordan.

Australia lifts suspension of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria