Monday, 17 December, 2018

US policy in Syria risks conflict with Russia, Iran

Kenny Thornton | 24 June, 2017, 22:25

The US military says it has shot down an armed, Iran-made drone that had been bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria's southeast.

In an indirect reference to Iranian-backed forces that have been gathering in the eastern desert region, a US-led coalition statement cited a recent escalation of tensions and said it would not "tolerate any hostile intent and action of pro-regime forces".

Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a USA warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked US -backed fighters in southern Syria.

The coalition forces "were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast" of the base when the drone flew in, a Pentagon statement said.

Russian defense ministry said it will suspend an agreement between the US and Russia that worked to limit the risk of in-flight incidents between the two countries, The Washington Post reported.

The area, which is used by US special forces to train Syrian rebel groups for future campaigns against the so-called Islamic State, has emerged as the latest battleground between USA -backed forces and Iranian-sponsored supporters of the Syrian government.

Russian Federation announced on Monday it was suspending the hotline, but the USA said it was still functioning as of Monday morning.

Cold Front Sweeps Through The State, Overnight Showers And Storms Possible
Isolated showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast for this afternoon with daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s. Our next frontal system will approach Friday , bringing the chance for some afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

The Defense Department revealed on Tuesday that the six Australian F/A-18F Super Hornets based in the United Arab Emirates had been suspended from Syrian operations after Russian Federation warned the US -led coalition not to fly over Syrian army positions west of the Euphrates River.

It also comes after an American F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter-bomber Sunday in northern Syria as it "dropped bombs" near the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance fighting IS.

Attempts to warn the plane away using an emergency radio frequency failed, the US Central Command said.

It came as United States and Russian officials held talks on creating a "de-escalation zone" in southwestern Syria that would include Deraa.

On Monday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps demonstrated some of its military prowess by launching ballistic missile strikes from western Iran against ISIS targets in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zour, according to The Guardian.

A Syrian military official in Damascus said the truce was not extended. Among US coalition members, Australia is carrying out one of the highest levels of airstrikes in both countries, though naturally they are all far fewer than US strikes. The drone, roughly the size of a U.S. Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, was armed and within range of striking U.S. -led coalition troops and their Syrian allies, the official said, who said the strike was in "self-defense".

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