ibusinesslines.com August 18, 2017

Australia suspends air strikes in Syria

20 June 2017, 10:47 | Erica Roy

Russia to track US-led coalition aircraft over Syria as potential targets

Vladimir Putin

Russian Federation says it will treat US-led coalition planes as potential targets in government-controlled areas of Syria west of the Euphrates River.

"This is not the time for the coalition to be in disarray", Dr Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, an global affairs think tank, told CNN.

The White House said on Monday that coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria retained the right to self-defense as Russian Federation warned it viewed any planes flying in its area of operations as potential targets.

Defence is monitoring the situation closely.

ADF operations in Iraq will continue as part of the Coalition, it was confirmed.

On June 8, US officials reported that a drone likely connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on USA -backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet.

A Russian defense ministry statement warned that all coalition jets and drones flying west of the Euphrates River would be treated as potential targets and would be tracked with missile systems and military aircraft.

After each incident, the USA military has insisted it only took action in self-defense and that it has no intention of getting further embroiled in the Syrian civil war.

Russian Federation announced Monday that for the second time this year it was suspending its military cooperation agreement with the United States in Syria - an agreement created to prevent unintended accidents in the skies over this crowded neighborhood.

A Defence spokesperson today said that "potential threats" had led to the ADF's decision to temporarily ground all flights.

He says: "We are not the initiator of any conflict and war but we do not tolerate creation of insecurity in our country". Australia's protective measure of suspending its activities is likely to cause wider concern among the other participants in this campaign.

Russian Federation first halted the deconfliction agreement in April after the US carried out airstrikes on Syrian targets.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, has been providing air cover to the government's offensive since 2015.

"Air operations continue and de-confliction measures are ongoing", a United Kingdom government spokesperson said Tuesday.

After the three encounters, Assad's forces wheeled around and seized territory to the north all the way to the Iraqi border, leaving US forces and their allies largely isolated in the southeast and cutting off their path to the Islamic State group.

It said several hours earlier, regime forces had attacked the SDF in another town near Tabqa, wounding several and driving the SDF from the town.

The Syrian army said the jet was shot down while flying a mission against Islamic State.

The strikes are the first time Iran has fired missiles at another country in three decades and represent a major escalation of Iran's role in the war in Syria.

F/A-18A Hornets from Australia's Air Task Group fly in formation with a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A.

We review the key events in Syria, including Russian threats against USA coalition warplanes flying in Syrian-controlled airspace, the SDF threatening to attack pro-government forces in Syria, and Iran saying its missile attack in Syria was a warning to its rivals.

The unprecedented United States downing of a Syrian regime warplane highlights the rapidly shifting dynamic in the six-year conflict where President Donald Trump has given American commanders a freer rein in the battlefield.

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