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19 June 2017, 01:38 | Opal Carroll
The U.S. military says it has shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants. When a Syrian army SU-22 jet later dropped bombs near the US backed forces, it was immediately shot by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the statement said.
The attack comes after pro-Syrian forces attacked SDF fighters in Ja'Din - a town south of Tabqah, and a known deconfliction area - wounding a number of SDF fighters, officials said.
"The Coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria", the USA task force in charge of operations in Syria and Iraq announced on Sunday.
The pilot of the jet went missing after this "flagrant aggression", the army's command added in a statement, according to Syria's state news agency SANA.
The incident came as a monitoring group reported the first ground fighting between Syrian government troops and the US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
"Following the Pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line" to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing", said a statement from Operation Inherent Resolve, the USA -led coalition fighting ISIS.
A U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet on Sunday that had dropped bombs on Syrian rebel forces fighting ISIS in Syria.
The strike was believed to be the USA military's first air-to-air kill in years.
By cutting off the Syrian Army from the road to Deir Ezzor, the US-backed forces will have access to several oil fields that are desperately wanted by the Syrian government.
The Pentagon argued that because they are allied with the Kurds they were free to attack the Syrian plane under the concept of "collective self-defense", and added that they "will not hesitate" to take further military action to defend the Kurds, or other partnered forces, from future threats.
The shootdown is the latest escalation between the USA -led coalition and pro-regime Assad forces in Syria.
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