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Australian air strikes in Syria halted
20 June 2017, 04:31 | Darnell Patrick
The U.S. -led coalition - named the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve - battling the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq carries out airstrikes against Islamic State targets and supports allies who are on the ground fighting the militant Islamist organization, such as the Syrian Democratic Forces militia and the Iraqi government's security forces.
The Pentagon issued a statement: "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".
In response, Russia's defence ministry said it would suspend coordination with the USA over deconfliction zones and begin tracking coalition jets operating in Assad-held areas west of the Euphrates river.
The Prime Minister pointed to "deconfliction arrangements" with Moscow, which are created to prevent mid-air incidents between coalition and Russian planes operating in the crowded airspace over Syria.
US -backed opposition fighters said Assad's forces have been attacking them in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.
Daraa is where Syria's crisis first broke out in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar Assad's government. Dunford said Monday, June 19, 2017, that Washington and Moscow are in delicate discussions to tamp down tensions arising from the US shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet, which the Russians called a violation of a U.S. On Sunday, Iran lobbed ballistic missiles at IS targets in eastern Syria, the first such attack it has carried out anywhere since at least 2001.
Australia's RAAF have ceased all air operations over Syria amid heightened tensions following the shooting down of a Syrian jet by the US.
Turkey and the Kurdish fighters have come to blows on a few occasions in recent months, leading USA forces to establish a buffer between them.
Iran cast the strike as a response to Islamic State attacks in Tehran earlier this month that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.
The Syrian government said the truce was part of national reconciliation efforts.
Coalition forces have been supporting the SDF and Syrian Arab Coalition (SAC) forces since they launched their offensive to recapture Raqqah-ISIS's proclaimed capital-on June 6. He said government forces began attacking the SDF on Saturday, using warplanes, artillery and tanks in areas that SDF had liberated from IS.
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.
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