The Syrian conflict has just moved the world closer to World War III, after Russia vowed to shoot down any aircraft or drones that bomb Syrian targets in areas they are operating in. The announcement comes after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian jet over the weekend after it dropped a bomb near rebel forces the United States is assisting.
Although the United States and Russia are both fighting ISIS in the country, Russia is also supporting the Assad regime that still rules the country. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been fighting his own people for decades, using both conventional and chemical weapons on them. ISIS presents a new problem for him.
Russia has been helping Assad because it sees an opportunity to gain a foothold in the country. Russia needs oil, and Assad can provide that.
The United States, in addition to fighting ISIS, is supporting rebels in the country, who are also fighting ISIS and the Assad regime. The United States supports the eventual removal of Assad as president.
Russia has warned US and coalition forces it will shoot down any aircraft or drones encroaching on its area of operations in western Syria.
The Russian ministry of defense said it is now treating any coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates as targets following the downing of a Syrian jet.
Russia said it was suspending co-ordination with the US involving ‘deconfliction zones’ after a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22.
The SU-22 had dropped bombs near US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ignored warnings prior to being shot down, the Pentagon said.
A communication line between Washington and Moscow that was intended to help co-ordinate flights to avoid mid-air collisions has also been shut down.
Russia claims that the US did not use that line prior to shooting down the SU-22; withdrawing from the line altogether increases the chances of conflict in the air.
The line has been shut down before – including in April, when President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian air base in response to the use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Al-Assad.
It’s not clear how long this latest shut-down will last.
Russia has been providing air cover for Assad’s troops since 2015 and has deployed its S-400 Growler air defense system in the Latakia Airbase on the Syrian coast.
The Growler has a range of 250 miles and can hit targets up to an altitude of 90,000 feet.
The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that it was suspending the deal after the US military confirmed that it downed a Syrian air force fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near US partner forces.