ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US-led anti-ISIS coalition has downed a Syrian army jet near Raqqa, the Syrian army said in a statement, accusing the United States of an act of aggression. The coalition has confirmed the incident, stating that Syrian forces had attacked their allied SDF forces on the ground.
The Syrian plane was carrying out a mission against ISIS in southern Raqqa province when it was downed, the Syrian army announced in a published statement, calling it an act of “blatant aggression” on the part of the United States.
The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon and the pilot is missing, the statement added.
The coalition issued a statement defending the attack and accused pro-Syrian regime forces of attacking the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Ja’Din south of Tabqa, “wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving SDF from the town.”
According to the coalition, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the SDF at around 4.30 pm on Sunday afternoon. The coalition carried out a “show of force” to stop the attack and then contacted Russia via the de-confliction line in order to de-escalate the situation.
More than two hours later, a Syrian regime plane bombed SDF fighters south of Tabqa. A US plane “immediately shot down” the Syrian one “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces.”
The coalition added that it does not seek conflict with the Syrian regime and its allies but it will “not hesitate to defend” itself and its partners.
Conflict monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Syrian plane was not targeting SDF in the area.
The Observatory and local journalists on the ground have reported clashes between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and regime forces in the area.
The SDF are leading the offensive to oust ISIS from Raqqa. They are receiving support, both in the air and on the ground, from the US-led coalition.
The Syrian army has made recent advances in the area, pushing southeast from Aleppo.
Last updated at 11:36 pm