US Downs Syrian Army Jet in Syria’s Raqqa, Claiming ‘Self-Defense’
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside, with Washington claiming the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Daesh terrorists.
A Syrian army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing in the first such downing of a Syrian jet by the United States since the start of the conflict in 2011, Reuters reported.
The army statement said it took place on Sunday afternoon near a village called Rasafah.
The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory," the Syrian army said.
"This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group," it added.
The US Central Command later issued a statement claiming the Syrian plane was downed "in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces," identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqah.
Before it downed the plane, the coalition had "contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line" to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing."
The Syrian army, which has been taking territory from retreating Daesh militants in the eastern Aleppo countryside, has moved into Raqqa province and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants' control for almost three years.