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20 June 2017, 09:27 | Erica Roy
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne
The White House said Monday the USA will do everything it can to protect its interests and to keep the lines of communication open with Russian Federation.
The U.S. has also fired on Syrian government ground forces in the east on two occasions in just the last month.
Australia has suspended its air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria.
Russian Federation yesterday warned it would track US-led coalition aircraft in central Syria as "targets" and halted an incident-prevention hotline with Washington after U.S. forces downed a Syrian jet.
The Syrian army said the jet was shot down while flying a mission against Islamic State.
Russian Defense Ministry has denounced the USA aggression and violation of Syria's sovereignty with the attack on the SU-22 fighter jet, whose pilot was catapulted, but his whereabouts are still unknown.
Meanwhile the Syrian army and its allies are also closing in on Raqqa and last week the Syrian military reached areas controlled by the SDF, making clashes between the opposing alliances nearly inevitable.
In the press statement, Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov, whose government supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said "all countries must fully respect Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
In Canberra, a Defense Department statement said on Tuesday that "Australian Defense Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats". "This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8".
According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja'Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town. Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts "to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing", according to the statement. The bomb did not explode, but the action was deemed a threat, and the drone was shot down.
The area falls in a part of Syria that was recently identified as a military priority by Damascus, and is seen as strategically important for Iran as it seeks to secure a land corridor between forces it backs in Syria and Iraq.
Intercepts between USA and Russian aircraft are common, and are generally not as dangerously close. He also demanded a thorough investigation into the shooting down yesterday of a Syrian Air Force SU-22 fighter jet over Raqqah province.
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