US shoots down Syrian government fighter jet in ‘show of force’

Russ Read, DCNF

A U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime aircraft after it attacked U.S.-backed forces in Syria on Sunday, according to the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve coalition.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down the Syrian SU-22 in what the coalition said was a “show of force” after the Syrian fighter dropped several bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters south of Taqbah. The coalition acted “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces,” according to the task force’s statement. The engagement represents the first time a U.S. aircraft has shot down an aircraft belonging to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

“The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat,” said the coalition statement. “The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally. 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.”

The U.S. used the established “de-confliction line” to notify Russia after the Syrian jets attacked.

Coalition forces, including the SDF, are currently engaged in operations against ISIS’s capital of Raqqah, which lies northeast of Taqbah.

The statement concluded by calling “on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.”

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