24 May, Thursday

US coalition shoots down Syrian regime jet

US Central Command said it was forced to target the warplane in self defense. As a result, ground fighting broke out between government troops and US-backed fighters for the first time.


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A US fighter jet shot down a Syrian government warplane on Sunday after the aircraft had dropped bombs on US-backed forces fighting so-called "Islamic State" (IS) fighters, the Pentagon confirmed. This confirmed an earlier report from Damascus that one of its planes had gone missing after what it called "flagrant aggression."
"The so-called international alliance today (Sunday) noon targeted the jet over the area of al-Rasafa in the southern countryside of Raqqa while it was on a combat mission against the terrorist Daesh," the Syrian army said, using the Arabic shorthand for IS.
The US Central Command later commented that they had been compelled to shoot down the aircraft "in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces," meaning fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces.
"The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat," said a statement from the Joint Task Force.
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Sunday also marked the first time fighting broke out between ground troops working for the US-led coalition and the Syrian regime. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR),the skirmishes took place about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Raqqa after Syrian forces heard about the US shooting down its warplane.
Raqqa is currently at the center of a bitter battle to push IS out of its last urban stronghold in Syria. According to the UN, this fighting has led to a "staggering loss of civilian life." (DW)


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