National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria

Theresa May has played down suggestions RAF pilots could be at risk after Russian Federation warned it would track warplanes from the US-led coalition in Syria as potential targets a day after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian air force jet. Russia's Defence Ministry said in Moscow yesterday that it would view as targets any flying objects over Syria in the areas of the country where its air forces operate.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington is working to re-establish communications aimed at avoiding mishaps involving US and Russian air operations in Syria.

On Monday, a day after the downing of the Syrian plane, Russian Federation threatened aircraft from the USA -led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline meant to avoid collisions in retaliation for the downing. Russian Federation suspended the same mechanisms in April after the USA struck a Syrian military base in response to a chemical attack, but resumed its participation weeks later.

The missile attack came amid recent confrontations in Syria between USA -backed forces and Iranian-backed pro-government factions.

Australia's RAAF have ceased all air operations over Syria amid heightened tensions following the shooting down of a Syrian jet by the US.

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

Iran cast the strike as a response to Islamic State attacks in Tehran earlier this month that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.

It appeared to be Iran's first missile attack overseas in over 15 years and its first in the Syrian conflict, in which it has provided crucial support to Assad.

After the three encounters, Assad's forces wheeled around and seized territory to the north all the way to the Iraqi border, leaving USA forces and their allies largely isolated in the southeast and cutting off their path to the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said the truce was part of national reconciliation efforts. The U.S. recently deployed a truck-mounted missile system in Syria as Iranian-backed forces cut off the advance of the U.S. -supported rebels along the Iraqi border.

Coalition forces have been supporting the SDF and Syrian Arab Coalition (SAC) forces since they launched their offensive to recapture Raqqah-ISIS's proclaimed capital-on June 6.

Russia's foreign ministry accused Washington of failing to use the hotline before downing the plane near Raqa, and called for a "careful investigation by the USA command" into the incident.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it was extended 24 hours.



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