Russia warns US its fighter jets are now potential target in Syria

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An F/A-18 fighter shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday, intensifying tensions between superpowers. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

19 June 2017 | Diplomatic editor and in Washington | The Guardian

What could possibly go wrong? JP


The threat of direct Russian-American confrontation in Syria escalated on Monday after Moscow said it would treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river as a potential target.

Russia said it was responding to US planes shooting down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday. The US said its planes had acted to defend US-backed forces seeking to capture the Islamic State capital of Raqqa in north-east Syria.

It was the first such US attack on a Syrian warplane since the start of the country’s civil war six years ago.

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.

“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 Russian foreign ministry also said it would respond to the attack by suspending its communications channel with US forces, which is designed to prevent collisions and dangerous incidents in Syrian airspace.

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