Dunford: Communication with Russian Federation still open after Syria shootdown

Russian Federation warned that it may treat US-led coalition aircraft over Syria as targets following the shooting down of a Syrian government warplane, in an escalation of rhetoric between the two rivals in the Middle East conflict.

Russia's defense ministry earlier said it would halt its use of the incident-prevention hotline after USA forces downed a Syrian jet, though Dunford noted it had remained in use "over the last few hours".

Tensions escalated on Sunday as the us military brought down the jet near Raqqa for bombing near USA -allied forces on the ground, and Iran launched missiles at Islamic State targets in eastern Syria - the first time each state has carried out such actions in the multi-sided Syrian war.

United States forces in Syria will not hesitate to defend themselves or their partners, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday following a threat issued by the Russian defense ministry earlier in the day.

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.

Russia's defence ministry said the USA had given it no warning, following which Moscow was also suspending coordination over "deconfliction zones" that were created to prevent incidents involving U.S. and Russian jets engaged in operations in Syria, reports the Guardian.

National Defence says it is monitoring the situation, but otherwise won't comment on where the planes have been flying in Syria and whether they are in any danger.

Time pointed out that throughout eastern Syria, the United States is competing with Damascus for control of territory seized from ISIS.

Meanwhile, U.S. -backed opposition fighters said that Assad's forces have been attacking their positions in the northern Raqqa province, and warned that they would take action if the attacks continue.

"What is this other than an act of aggression in violation of the norms of global law?"

In September 2016, US-led coalition planes targeting IS positions instead killed Syrian troops. The SDF is the anti-Islamic State alliance among the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen, and Circassian fighters.

Now will come more questions, more uncertainty as the country waits to see how United States policy on Syria evolves as the facts on the ground change.

The previous Conservative government first deployed Aurora surveillance planes, a Polaris air-to-air refueller and six CF-18 fighter jets to participate in the US -led air campaign against ISIL in October 2014. "There could be problems between it and Soheil Hassan", said the commander, referring to the Syrian officer leading the government offensive in Raqqa province.

The coalition said the Syrian warplane had been shot down "in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces".

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