A top Russian diplomat has condemned the United States (US) for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of “aggression.”
The US military confirmed a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down Sunday a Syrian SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the US partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, aligned with the Americans in the fight against the militant Islamic State (IS) group.
Russia has been a staunch supporter of Syria’s beleaguered President Bashar Assad and has been providing an air cover for this offensive since 2015.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies on Monday that the downing was akin to “helping the terrorists that the U.S. is fighting against.” Ryabkov asks: “What is this, if not an act of aggression?
Earlier, a US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside. Wash-ington said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces. Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State mili-tants.
A Syrian army statement re-leased on state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing. It said the incident took place on Sunday afternoon near a vil-lage called Rasafah.
The “flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the ef-forts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies … in fighting ter-rorism across its territory”, the statement said. “This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the [Islamic State] terrorist group.“