Middle East News

US shoots down a Syrian military jet near Raqqa

The Syrian Ministry of Defence said in a Sunday, June 18 statement, that the US-led Coalition shot down one of it's jets near Rusafa, south of Raqqa.

Updated Jun 20

The US-led Coalition confirmed in a statement on Sunday, June 18, that a US F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 near Raqqa after it dropped bombs near SDF fighters.

The statement said that at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked Ja’Din, wounding several people and forcing the SDF to leave the town. Coalition aircraft then conducted a show of force stopping the initial pro-regime advance, and the Coalition contacted its Russian counterparts using the established de-confliction line.

“At 6:43 p.m., a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet.”

CJTF-OIR statement

According to CNN’s Lucas Fox, the US plane was launched from the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush in the Mediterranean sea.

On June 19, CBS’s Mary Walsh reported that the US aircraft fired two missiles at a range of 1km (0.6 miles). The second hit its target.

Update June 20 

At a June 20 briefing, Pentagon spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said: “There was an incident earlier in the day where regime tanks, artillery, technical vehicles and soldiers were advancing toward SDF forces that were holding the towns of Jadin and Shuwayhan,”

“There had been multiple communications through the deconfliction line.”

Davis said US aircraft conducted a show of force, including strafing runs near the regime positions. This action stopped the regime advance.

“That was when they saw the SU-22 approaching and it was carrying ordnance,” Davis said. “They did everything they could to try to warn it away, … but ultimately the SU-22 went into a dive and was observed dropping munitions and was subsequently shot down.”

The Coalition statement says Ja’Din is approximately 2km (1.2 miles) north of an established SDF-Syrian government de-confliction area.

The shooting down of the Syrian aircraft comes just 10 days after US aircraft shot down a pro-regime drone near At Tanf in southern Syria. Sunday’s strike is believed to be the US military’s first air-to-air kill involving manned fighter aircraft since 1999, when an F-16 shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in Kosovo.

Earlier, the Syrian Ministry of Defence said in statement that the US-led Coalition shot down one of its jets near Rusafa, south of Raqqa. The statement said the aircraft’s pilot was missing, and warned of serious repercussions after “this blatant assault on the fight against terrorism.”

Abdulkarim Omar tweeted that the aircraft was shot down after it targeted SDF fighters in the Tabqa area. Omar is the Co-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Jazira Canton in the SDF-controlled region of Northern Syria.

Local journalist Mohammed Hassan says there are clashes between the SDF and Syrian regime forces near Tabqa.

Pro-regime forces are advancing rapidly to the south of Raqqa and Tabqa, in an apparent attempt to take control of the area’s oil fields.



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