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20 June 2017, 05:16 | Darnell Patrick
BEIRUT - Russia on Monday threatened aircraft from the USA -led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline meant to avoid collisions in retaliation for the US military shooting down a Syrian warplane. The White House pledged to "protect our interests" in Syria.
Russian Federation said it was ending the U.S.
A public war of words between Washington and Moscow continued late Monday as the US said it had a "right to self defense" in Syria near the eastern city of Raqqa after Russian Federation warned it would treat USA coalition aircraft as targets and condemned the downing of a Syrian jet.
Moscow's warning on Monday to US-allied warplanes escalated the threat of a direct Russian-American confrontation in Syria, following the first United States downing of a fighter jet belonging to Russia since the start of the civil war six years ago.
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.
"ADF are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course", the spokesman said.
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Moscow warned that U.S. jets west of the Euphrates will now be tracked as potential targets.
In addition to the "usual rhetoric" - the charge that the United States is violating Syrian sovereignty and breaking global law - Russia's response is "a practical step", says the BBC, promising to treat coalition drones and aircraft as potential targets.
"I'm confident that we are still communicating", he said, adding: "I'm also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves".
"The worst thing any of us could do right now is address this with hyperbole", Dunford said. The U.S. recently deployed a truck-mounted missile system in Syria as Iranian-backed forces cut off the advance of the U.S. -supported rebels along the Iraqi border.
The missile attack came amid recent confrontations in Syria between US -backed forces and Iranian-backed pro-government factions. Moscow has said it entered the fight mainly to combat IS. Before that attack, USA officials informed their Russian counterparts.
"The Russians clearly are doing a lot of sabre rattling right now, but the reality is that the United States has significantly superior air power in the region, and it would be extremely foolish for the Russians to pick a fight with the United States in Syria", said Nile Gardiner, an worldwide affairs expert at the Heritage Foundation think tank. Tom Shannon, the State Department No. 3, will meet Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister. "The balance of power in Syria is shifting away from Moscow and you are having a more assertive US presence in the region".
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