Escalation in Syria was almost inevitable


As per the statement, the coalition headquarters in Iraq has said that an F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 that had left bombs near positions taken by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

MOSCOW (AP) - A top Russian diplomat on Monday condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of "aggression", while US -backed opposition forces on the ground warned Syrian government troops to stop their attacks or face retaliation.

Dillon said the US-led coalition was also prepared to continue using the hotline, which consists of phone calls between the United States' Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and a Russian base at Latakia, Syria.

The U.S. needs now to delineate the lines of advance for Syria's Kurds, and to talk to the Russians, Syrians and Iranians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria's war, said government forces expanded their presence in Raqqa province by capturing from IS the town of Rasafa.

Sam Heller, an analyst at The Century Foundation, told the magazine that [Bashar al-] Assad's attack near coalition-backed forces that led to the Syrian jet being shot down, is a sign he aims to disrupt the US -led campaign in eastern Syria.

The developments added to already-soaring regional tensions and reflect the intensifying rivalry among the major players in Syria's civil war that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the Islamic State group in its stronghold of Raqqa is gaining ground. And until now the overarching USA guiding principle has been to avoid such direct conflict with Assad forces on the ground - at almost all costs.

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".

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Government forces and their allies are working in eastern areas, and have clashed with the U.S. and their partners as they carry out operations.

The American military does not take such things lightly and so for the first time in this long and bloody war struck back by downing a Syrian bomber. Yesterday morning, the area where the regime and SDF members clashed was quiet, and the US -backed force was continuing to battle ISIL inside Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

The Russian threat came just hours after the USA shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet that had dropped bombs on the US -allied Syrian Democratic Forces.

The U.S. has been on a potential collision course with the Syrian government at least since President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes in 2014 and introduced special operations forces a year later. "There could be problems between it and Soheil Hassan", said the commander, referring to the Syrian officer leading the government offensive in Raqqa province. It said that several hours earlier, regime forces had attacked the SDF in another town near Tabqa, wounding several and driving the SDF from the town.

Those moves have led to clashes between armed groups backed by the USA and those backed by the Syrian government.

The US moved quickly to contain an escalation, with a top general saying Washington would work to relaunch the "deconfliction" hotline with Russian Federation that was established in 2015.

The US military is prohibited by law from coordinating directly with the Russian military, but given the increased pace and scale of military operations in Syria, the US and Russia have sought ways to ensure that their respective personnel are not targeted by mistake, setting up a series of so-called "de-confliction zones" that delineate areas of operation for the coalition and the Russian forces.