World War 3: Russia Threatens to Treat US Jets in Syria as Targets
Following the downing of a Syrian jet by an American plane, Russia has said it will treat US warplanes flying in parts of Syria where its own air force is operating as targets, it was reported Monday.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said due to the incident, it was suspending a hotline between Russia and the US that was established to avoid mid-air collisions.
Communications between the two sides also were cut off in April after the US launched 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, although the US and Russia agreed to resume the hotline last month.
The incident was the 1st time the US has engaged in air-to-air combat in Syria. The US said the Syrian fighter jet was shot down after it dropped bombs near American-backed forces.
A statement released by US Central Command explained that the jet was shot down “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces… The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.”
Throughout eastern Syria, the United States is competing with Damascus for control of territory seized from ISIS.
An analyst at The Century Foundation, told the magazine that Bashar al-Assad’s attack near coalition-backed forces that led to the Syrian jet being shot down, is a sign he aims to disrupt the US-led campaign in Eastern Syria.