The Latest: Russia threatens after US downs Syrian warplane
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
Russia is retaliating following the U.S. military’s shooting down of a Syrian warplane.
Moscow is threatening aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and has suspended a hotline intended to avoid collisions.
The U.S. says it downed the Syrian jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces conducting operations against the Islamic State group.
The U.S. says it downed a Syrian military jet on Sunday because the aircraft had dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces conducting operations against the Islamic State group.
Russia has responded by suspending a flight coordination hotline and has also threatened to target U.S. coalition planes. Speaking in Washington on Monday, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says talks, not “hyperbole,” are needed.
The downing of the warplane — the first time in the six-year conflict that the U.S. has shot down a Syrian jet — came amid another first: Iran fired several ballistic missiles Sunday night at IS positions in eastern Syria in what it said was a message to archrival Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Syrian opposition activists say a 48-hour truce in the southern city of Daraa has been extended.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it was extended 24 hours. Daraa-based Ahmad al-Masalmeh confirmed the truce was extended Monday but did not know for how long.
The truce that went into effect Saturday came after some of the worst fighting in months between rebels and pro-government forces.
Activists say a “de-escalation agreement” brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey in May has brought little relief. The agreement covers four zones in Syria where the rebels are fighting pro-government forces.
The Syrian government said the truce was part of national reconciliation efforts.
The Dutch government is sending a military refueling plane to Kuwait to assist the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
The government announced the deployment Monday, saying a KDC-10 refueling plane left the Eindhoven military air base in the southern Netherlands for Kuwait, where it will be based along with a 40-strong support crew.
During a six-week deployment earlier this year, a Dutch plane refueled 189 coalition plans.
The government says that later this year it will send a C-130 cargo plane to the region to help transport members of the coalition and their equipment.
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.
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.
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?”