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Australia suspends airstrikes in Syria after US downed jet

21 June 2017

They are attempting to become an indispensable player in uprooting the extremists from Syria entirely.

It was near the site where the pro-Assad plane was shot down by coalition forces.

A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone near At Tanf, Syria, on Monday, two U.S. officials told CNN, the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month. Iran fired ballistic missiles at IS targets in eastern Syria, in the province of Deir el-Zour, later on Sunday.

Damascus and its allies have long argued that they are the essential partner to any global effort in Syria, portraying all opposition forces as terrorist groups.

Australia has suspended its airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as a precaution after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane earlier this week.

"We will work diplomatically and militarily in the coming hours to re-establish deconfliction", said US General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referring to the hotline.

He says: "We are not the initiator of any conflict and war but we do not tolerate creation of insecurity in our country".

The United States, he added, "is dealing with it defensively and reactively".

After several incidents in which U.S. warplanes attacked Syrian pro-government targets, the USA yesterday had its biggest attack, shooting down a Syrian Su-22 bomber inside Syrian airspace. "We want all parties to focus on the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria". "If you're going to ramp up military activity against Assad, you are also going in against Iran and Russian Federation". Taking Sukhna would cut the militants' supply line to the border with Iraq.

It's not known how many US crew were on the plane.

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The threat came after a U.S. Navy fighter aircraft shot down a Syrian Air Force jet on Sunday, an act that the Pentagon explained as a defensive measure to protect U.S. allies who are pressuring Islamic State in its stronghold of Raqqa.

On several occasions in recent weeks, warplanes of the USA -led coalition have also struck pro-government forces to prevent them advancing from the Al Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria at a spot where the country's borders join Iraq and Jordan.

Syrian military officers described it as a major achievement that boosts the coordination of border security between Iraq and Syria.

This is not the first time the US -led coalition shut down a regime drone. On May 18, the United States conducted airstrikes on an Iranian-backed pro-Assad militia that it said came within the established de-confliction zone around the training base. The Trump administration also encouraged Syrian rebels to put their weapons down, a resumption of the role the Obama administration played.

A ministry statement issued in Moscow warned that coalition planes would be viewed as targets, and said a hotline for preventing accidental military engagement would be shut off.

It was also the first time the US Air Force had shot down a manned aircraft since May 1999.

Abdullah argued that the USA position is being weakened by splits within the Trump administration over Syria policy. USA -backed forces recently pushed into Raqqa, the northern Syrian city that served as the group's de facto capital.

The U.S. military meanwhile confirmed Tuesday that top IS cleric Turki al-Binali was killed in a coalition airstrike on May 31, in Mayadeen, Syria. "This attack, before being a message for the terrorists, is a message for the supporters of terrorism in the region which are symbolized by the Saudi regime and the Americans", the state television website quoted Iranian parliamentarian Javad Karimi Qoddousi as saying.

"I hope that the clear message of this attack will be understood by the terrorists as well as their regional and global supporters", said Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace unit, according to the website of Iranian state television.

Australia suspends airstrikes in Syria after US downed jet