United States military repositioning aircraft over Syria

Russia will target coalition jets in parts of Syria, defence ministry says

This is in justification for the downing of an SU-22 Syrian fighter jet that has bombed SDF positions in the city of Raqqa during the attack against the remaining ISIS pockets in the city.

The downing of the warplane - the first time in the six-year conflict that the US has shot down a Syrian jet - came amid another first: Iran fired several ballistic missiles Sunday night at IS positions in eastern Syria in what it said was a message to archrival Saudi Arabia and the United States.

These events illustrate how an uneasy battlefield coexistence in Syria has spiraled into a a situation that is impossible to maintain.

"As a result of the strike, the Syrian plane was destroyed".

Syria's ally Russian Federation issued a warning on Monday, accusing the U.S. of military aggression against Syria "carried out under the cover of 'fight against terrorism'". "The Coalition does not try to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them".

The incident is seen as the latest skirmish between the US-led coalition and regime forces in Syria's northern and eastern region. "We oppose Assad, but our main enemy is ISIS, which also opposes Assad". As US Secretary of Defense James Mattis noted, it is now a "strategy-free" time. A war with Assad might trigger a war with Russian Federation, which will be catastrophic.

These Iran hawks, they said, are pushing for a Syria strategy that calls for concentrating first on defeating Islamic State, then turning on Iran and its allies, including Assad, Lebanon's Hezbollah, Iraq's Shi'ite militias, and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Yet here we are.

The Pentagon has now twice deliberately targeted Syrian President Bashar Assad's military and launched three other airstrikes against what it calls "pro-regime" forces - a sharp reversal of the hands-off stance toward Assad that the US took during the opening weeks of Trump's presidency.

Washington hasn't provided enough details on the post-war policy in Syria but as of the moment, fighting Assad isn't one of them. Is this where we want to go?

At the time, a Russian representative to the United Nations called the act an "illegitimate action by the United States". The coalition has for months backed SDF forces in their bid to capture Raqqa, an operation in which the regime has not been involved.

Clashes between Syrian troops and SDF would escalate tensions in the country and open a new front line in the many complex battlefields of the civil war, now in its seventh year. So the USA supported a program to arm moderate rebels, but would never state just how far it would go to protect them if they were targeted by regime forces.

How would we win such a war, without massive intervention? Analysts say that more robust USA military action in Syria since President Donald Trump took office in January has resulted from his decision to give the military more autonomy in how it pursues the war on Islamic State.

And yet now, as the Trump administration enters its sixth month, the USA is being drawn into the very conflict its inaction had been meant to avoid.

And that got the attention of Syrian President Bashar Assad's chief protector, Russia.

We can not allow our friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf to play our hand for us, for it is all too often in their interests to have us come fight their wars, which are not necessarily our wars.

The SDF is in the process of encircling Raqqa, ISIS's last major stronghold in Syria.

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