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Led coalition downs Iran-made drone in Syria

25 June 2017

When asked about Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed militias who, like the USA -led coalition, were advancing on Islamic State-held territory, Dillon responded: "We're here to fight ISIS, and if others want to fight ISIS to defeat them, we have no problem with that".

The Coalition "has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the de-confliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated". Russian Federation backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran also supports, while the US -led coalition is aligned with groups that oppose the Assad regime and ISIS.

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.

Since the downing of the Syrian jet, Russian Federation has threatened to target U.S. and US-led coalition jets flying over Syria west of the Euphrates river.

However, efforts led by U.S.in support of a weak coalition of Iraq, Iran, Kurds, Turkey and numerous Syrian anti-Assad factions that is now nearing the ISIS "capital" of Raqqa appears to have ISIS near defeat.

U.S. military involvement in Syria long was limited to attacks against ISIS targets, with the occasional attack against al-Qaeda forces in the Syrian northwest.

Earlier, Syrian forces attacked coalition fighters in Ja'Din, wounding a number of fighters and driving them from the town.

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The Australians have six fighters stationed in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) that have been used in combat operations against both Syria and Iraq. The U.S. has also suspended talks with Russian Federation over resolution of the Syrian conflict.

Russia's decision came after the USA confirmed it shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter bomber Sunday.

The U.S. -led Combined Joint Task Force said the drone displayed "hostile intent" as it approached the outpost.

The drone was thought to be armed and threatening U.S. troops on the ground, officials said. "The foreign minister, on the other hand, said 'everybody needs to take a step back and work to de-escalate the situation'".

All of the strikes, the Pentagon has said, were in self-defense and legal under the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The US pilot proceeded to fire off a second missile, an AIM 120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, which hit its intended target, downing the Syrian warplane and forcing its pilot to eject, the officials added.

Meanwhile, the USA and Russian militaries swapped accusations about an unsafe intercept involving a U.S. spy plane and a Russian fighter jet over the Baltic Sea.

More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria s conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011.