Russia: US Planes in Syria Are Now 'Targets'

The United States has moved quickly to contain an escalation of the situation after the jet was downed on Sunday evening when regime forces targeted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters battling IS.

"As of June 19, Russian Defense Ministry ended its interaction with the USA under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing safe flights during operations in Syria", the ministry said in a statement.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was still communications between a U.S. air operations center in Qatar and Russian forces on the ground in Syria but added: "We'll work diplomatically and military in the coming hours to reestablish deconfliction".

Additionally, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that any airborne objects west of the Euphrates River would be tracked by Russian ground and air defenses as targets.

The hotline was established between USA officers monitoring the war from an operations center at a base in Qatar and their Russian counterparts operating in Syria.

After the terrorist group is eliminated, it is likely that the rebels and government forces will faceoff in a deadly showdown.

The developments give new urgency to a meeting later this week between senior US and Russian diplomats that were meant to focus on irritants in the relationship that are hampering cooperation in other areas, notably Syria and Ukraine. A ministry statement issued in Moscow warned that coalition planes would be viewed as targets, and said a hotline for preventing accidental military engagement would be shut off.

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Dunford said that if Russian Federation is serious about eliminating the IS, it should understand that it is necessary to work to reduce tensions in Syria, where the U.S. has increased its presence by deploying elite ground forces.

The ministry insisted that the SU-22 jet had been on a mission in Syrian government airspace.

U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aboard the USS George Bush.

"What is this, if not an act of aggression", he asked.

Russian foreign defense minister Sergei Ryabkov also accused the USA of helping terrorists by shooting down the Syrian plane.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, also said it was suspending a hotline meant to avoid mid-air collisions and called on the U.S.to explain why it shot down Syria's Su-22 bomber. The incident took place in southern Syria near a base where the US -led coalition was training Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group.

"We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground", the spokesman, Col. Ryan Dillon, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad.

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