US-Russia tensions escalate in Syria after Americans shoot down regime jet

Russia warns of targeting US airforce following strike of Syrian jet 

THE MILITARY CHAOS in Syria has been raised further as Russian officials warned they would take measures to target the US airforce, after the Americans shot down a Syrian military jet. 

The US and Russia have both intervened in the Syrian civil war, with America opposed to the government of [Bashir al-Assad] and the Russians determined to maintain his position in the region. 

The parties have avoided any direct military engagement during the years of civil war - similar to the numerous ‘proxy wars’ during the Cold War phases, where US-Soviet interests were repeatedly in conflict but avoided direct declarations of war between the two super-powers. 

Read more - Beyond bombing: 5 things you need to know about the Syrian conflict

However, the recent destruction of a Syrian military jet by the Americans - the first such incident by US forces in Syria - has risked escalation. The Russian government has now warned it will treat US-led coalition planes flying west of the Euphrates river as a potential target.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the US strike “has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law.

Read more - Military chaos in Syria as Russian pilot killed in Turkish attack

“What is this if not an act of aggression? It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy,” The Guardian reported. 

Previously Turkey shot down a Russian military plane, claiming it had crossed the official border into Turkish territory. The attack provoked outrage in Moscow, but diplomatic relations have slower been restored. The US has defended its attack on the Syrian jet, stating that it was in defence of US forces seeking to capture Raqqa from Daesh (Islamic State). 

“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,” Joseph Dunford, senior US general, explained in a media briefing.

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The Syrian civil war remains the world’s most enduring conflict, with millions displaced from the bloody fighting and bombing operations. State powers from across the Middle East, Gulf, Europe, and North America have intervened in the conflict. Yet attempts to progress peace talks have only achieved temporary cease fires. 

Picture courtesy of a.anis

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