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Accusing the United States of illegal military aggression in shooting down a Syrian jet Sunday, Russia vowed Monday to shoot down any aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Syria that stray into what Russia established as a no-fly zone.

“All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

Planes and drones “will be tracked by the Russian ground and air anti-aircraft defense systems as air targets in the areas where Russian aviation is on combat missions in the Syrian sky,” the statement added.

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Russia, which is backing the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, also suspended use of a hotline designed to help avoid collisions in Syrian airspace between Russian and coalition forces.

“Repeated combat actions by U.S. aviation under the cover of counter-terrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U.N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian defense ministry said in condemning the American attack.

On Sunday the United States shot down a Syrian jet near Tabqa in the first such incident since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. The jet had bombed the Syrian Defense Force, which is allied with the U.S.

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“At 6:43 p.m., a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqa, and in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet,” said a statement from the U.S.-led coalition.

“The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated,” it added.

“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,” the statement also said.

In Moscow, Frants Klintsevich, the deputy chairman of the Russian Senate’s defense committee, called the U.S. action a “blunt act of aggression and provocation.”

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“It is Russia that is being provoked most of all,” he said. “It seems that the U.S. under Donald Trump is the source of danger for the Middle East and the whole world on a qualitatively new level.”

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Source: http://capitalisthq.com/russia-vows-to-attack-u-s-allied-planes-after-u-s-downs-syrian-jet/

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