Not even a day after an American FA/18 E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22, the Russian government has issued a serious response.
On June 18, a fighter jet belonging to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime bombed the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the Raqqa province, near the de facto ISIS capital. American forces responded by immediately shooting down the Syrian aircraft.
The full account can be read in the press release below:
According to the BBC, the Russian government, which backs the Assad regime, was angered by what it calls a “flagrant attack” that will have “dangerous repercussions,” despite the U.S. claiming it used the proper communication channels to warn the Syrian aircraft.
Now the Russians are threatening to shoot down any coalition forces that cross into their airspace.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement:
“Any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the international coalition operating west of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets.”
According to the Financial Times, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters:
“What is this other than an act of aggression in violation of the norms of international law? This, if you like, is help for the terrorists that the US are fighting under what they call their anti-terrorism policy.”
They also warned that the memorandum of cooperation with the coalition in order to prevent these type of incidents will end as of Monday, June 19.
This is not the first time American forces have dealt a blow to Assad. Just a few months ago, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at an airbase after the regime was accused of using chemical weapons on its own people.
While coalition forces and their Syrian and Kurdish allies have made major gains against ISIS, things have never been tenser between the two major world powers.