On June 18, the Syrian Defense Ministry said that the United States-led coalition shot down its aircraft in the countryside near Raqqa when it was on a combat mission against Daesh.
The ministry noted that the coalition’s “actions are aimed at halting the Syrian army and its allies in the fight against terrorism, whereas our army and allies make great progress.”
Later, US Central Command confirmed the information saying that it shot down the Syrian government forces’ Su-22 aircraft as it was allegedly bombing an area where US-backed rebel forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), were stationed, south of Tabqa in the Raqqa province.
The coalition called its attack on the Syrian army’s jet “collective self-defense,” adding that it contacted the Russian military to de-escalate the situation after the incident.
The US command underscored that fighting the “Syrian regime,” Russian or pro-Damascus forces is not the coalition’s mission, but it “will not hesitate to defend the Coalition or partner forces from any threat.”
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry called the attack “cynical” and “de facto an act of aggression” against a UN member state.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that any aircraft and drone in the area of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ operations in Syria would be tracked by the air defense systems as aerial targets. Moreover, Russia halted all interactions with the US within the framework on the memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies.
By downing the Syrian jet, the US committed another act of aggression that is not related to the fight against terrorism, according to Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and president of the Russian Academy for Geopolitical Problems.
“This was a true act of aggression. On the territory of a sovereign state, the US shot down a combat aircraft of this country’s air force,” Sivkov told Sputnik.
According to him, such actions are not related to the fight against terrorism and “yet one more example of the US using terrorist groups to implement its own geopolitical ambitions.”
“Washington’s goal is to preserve control over terrorist groups. Its goal is not to defeat terrorists. The US wants to use terrorists for its own interest in combat actions,” Sivkov said.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council, suggested that the Syrian jet was attacked deliberately and such provocations could happen again.
“This was done deliberately. This was an attempt to show who the boss is,” Kosachev told Vesti FM radio broadcaster.
The lawmaker noted that the US-led coalition is unhappy with the fact that its anti-Daesh efforts generated no visible results and the situation radically changed only after Russia engaged in Syria.
“Their goal is to claim a lead in the fight against terrorism and at the same time portray Russia as a country fighting to save the current Syrian regime. It is all crystal clear,” Kosachev said.
He added that the incident once again shows what goal each of the sides is pursuing in Syria.
“Russia is really fighting terrorists in Syria while the US-led coalition continues attempts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad,” he said.
Furthermore, he suggested that similar provocations are likely to happen again. Kosachev also noted that attempts at regime change in Syria only strengthen Daesh and other terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, Stanislav Tarasov, a political analyst and specialist in Middle East studies, said that the attack on a Syrian aircraft was part of a plan to divide Syria.
“It seems that the US has already decided how to divide Syria into zones of influence and wants other parties to stay away from those areas. This is why such incidents take place. The situation is not related to de-escalation zones agreed by Russia, Iran and Turkey at the talks in Astana. The US endorsed the deal but did not join it,” Tarasov told Radio Sputnik.
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