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Russia warns U.S. after downing of Syrian jet

By: The Associated Press
June 19, 2017 Updated: June 19, 2017 at 7:07 am
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BEIRUT — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

Russia’s defense ministry says it will treat U.S.-led coalition planes in Syria, west of the Euphrates River, as targets after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian Air Force jet on Sunday.

Moscow has condemned the U.S. downing of the Syrian government fighter jet after it dropped bombs nears U.S. partner forces.

The Russian defense ministry says in a statement that, starting Monday, it will track all jets and drones of the U.S.-led coalition west of the Euphrates and treat them as targets.

The ministry also called on the U.S. military to provide a full account of why it decided to shoot down the Syrian SU-22.

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has been providing an air cover to the government’s offensive on the Islamic State group since 2015.

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2:40 p.m.

Russia’s defense ministry says it is suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called “de-confliction zones” after the Americans downed a Syrian government fighter jet.

The United States and Russia, which has been providing an air cover for Syria’s President Bashar Assad since 2015 in his offensive against the Islamic State group, have a standing agreement that should prevent in-the-air incidents involving U.S. and Russia jets engaged in operations in Syria.

The Russian defense ministry said in a statement on Monday that it was suspending the deal after the U.S. military confirmed that it downed a Syrian Air Force fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near U.S. partner forces.

The ministry says it views the incident as Washington’s “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” under the de-confliction deal.

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12:30 p.m.

A top Russian diplomat has condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of “aggression.”

The U.S. military confirmed a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down Sunday a Syrian SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, aligned with the Americans in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Russia has been a staunch supporter of Syria’s beleaguered President Bashar Assad and has been providing an air cover for this offensive since 2015.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies on Monday that the downing was akin to “helping the terrorists that the U.S. is fighting against.”

Ryabkov asks: “What is this, if not an act of aggression?”

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