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RUSSIA’S RED LINE: Moscow Announces End to US ‘Deconfliction’ Cooperation Over Syria

1 Russia Syria Air Defense
IMAGE: Air defense and satellite tracking center in Russia.

21st Century Wire says…

As of June 19th, the Russian Ministry of Defense has announced that it will be ending cooperation with the United States over Syria. Up until that time, the two country’s ‘deconfliction’ communications agreement has prevented the two super-powers from crossing swords during their respective military air operations over the Syrian skies.

The Russian statement comes following news this week that a US F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter jet 40 km from the city of Raqqa. Washington claimed it as an act of ‘collective self-defense’ in protecting its US-backed ‘SDF’ forces. The Syrian pilot was able to eject from his plane.

The situation is serious. Russia has drawn a clear red line, with officials stating that all aircraft of the US-led coalition in the area of Russian and Syrian combat missions over Syria – will be tracked by Russian defense systems as “air targets.”

US F/A-18E Super Hornet.

US F/A-18E Super Hornet.

It’s worth noting that at the moment of the US downing of the Syria jet, the Syrian Army was carrying out operations against ISIS. This is another in a now long list of US military incitements inside of Syria’s borders, leaving both Syria and Russia to conclude that this latest US provocation is nothing short of a prelude to war.

Pressure on the Coalition

It seems that other countries are already taking notice. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced today that it will be suspending further flights over Syria, although not over Iraq. Australia’s Department of Defense said:

“As a precautionary measure, Australian Defence Force (ADF) strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased.”

As yet, there have been no further statements from the other US partners in air operations over Syria like the UK, France, Germany and Norway. Will others follow Australia’s lead and head for the exit, or will they be forced to dig their heals into a position which is already in violation of their domestic and international law?

Once again, Russia has countered an irrational and unhanded action in Syria by the US – by making a rational and deliberate move.

Will this situation climb-down, or escalate? That answer seems to be up to the US now.

More on this from RT…

RT

The Russian Defense Ministry announced it is halting cooperation with its US counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria following the coalition’s downing of a Syrian warplane.

The ministry has demanded a thorough investigation by the US military command into the incident with the Syrian government military jet, with the results to be shared with the Russian side.

“In the areas of combat missions of Russian air fleet in Syrian skies, any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.

Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace “cynically” violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.

The actions of the US Air Force are in fact “military aggression” against Syria, the statement adds.

The ministry emphasized that Russian warplanes were on a mission in Syrian airspace during the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian Su-22, while the coalition failed to use the communication line to prevent an incident.

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.”

The ministry considers the move “a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria,” and is thus halting cooperation with the US within the memorandum framework as of June 19, the statement concluded.

Earlier Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the attack, branding it an act of aggression which actually helped the terrorists the US is fighting against….

Continue this story at RT

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