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USA warplane downs 'hostile' Syria drone

USA warplane downs 'hostile' Syria droneā€

It also comes after an American warplane shot down a Syrian government jet on Sunday in northern Syria as it "dropped bombs" near the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance fighting ISIL.

Following the fighter jet's downing, Moscow suspended an incident hotline meant to prevent confrontations in Syria's crowded air space, and warned it could consider USA -led coalition planes "targets". That led Russian Federation, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, to warn that it would target USA -led coalition planes flying west of the Euphrates River.

"The downing of the Syrian plane establishes the fact that the United States will now play hardball in containing Russian and Iranian power expansion in the Middle East", says Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Lebanese American University in Beirut.

The drone was thought to be armed and threatening US-led coalition troops on the ground, officials said.

The incidents mark an escalation in the area around At Tanf - a base near the Syrian-Jordanian border manned by coalition forces that are advising an anti-ISIS Syrian rebel group. The drone was observed in the same area where another UAV was shot down on June 8.

It was shot down near Tanf, an outpost of the US-led coalition. With pro-Syrian government forces now between USA -backed fighters at Tanf and predominantly Islamic State-controlled areas any future offensive in the area will be hard. The Russian-US communication channel to prevent mid-air incidents over Syria is in operation, a spokesman for the headquarters of Operation Inherent Resolve, which is being conducted in Iraq and Syria by a group of countries led by the US, informed TASS on Tuesday.

Russian Federation said it was cutting the "deconfliction line", a key communication channel between Moscow and Washington used to prevent mixed messages and avoid military collisions between the two powers.

On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused the USA of "open collusion with terrorists" in Syria. To achieve that, the administration may need to raise the military or economic pressures on Iran, Russia and the Syrian government while pressing for negotiations on a new Syrian political order.

The SDF now control four neighbourhoods in the city, and on Tuesday also advanced along its southern outskirts, moving closer to completely encircling Raqa.

The move effectively blocks worldwide forces and their local partners in the garrison, and prevents them from themselves advancing towards Deir Ezzor. Speculation about a direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington in Syria quickly followed the incident.

"It doesn't look like anyone now intends to deliberately escalate further, but when you've got these little skirmishes. the risk is that you can end up in an escalation by accident", said Sam Heller, a Syria expert at The Century Foundation.

Daraa is where Syria's crisis first broke out in March 2011 as an uprising against Assad's government.



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