CONFIRMED: US Shot Down a Syrian Jet Over Syria
US has confirmed the downing, the Syrian army says its plane was striking ISIS
Earlier in the day it was reported that a Syrian Su-22 fighter-bomber was lost in Raqqa province.
Now however the Syrian Ministry of Defense has issued a statement saying the crash was caused by an American attack against the plane which was conducting sorties against ISIS. (UPDATE -- US has now confirmed the downing, see the bottom of the article.)
Kurdish media agrees that the US downed a Syrian jet, but claims the Su-22 was striking Kurdish militia (SDF/YPG) positions.
The fate of the downed pilot is not yet known.
UPDATE -- The latest on the pilot now is that he has been captured and the government is holding negotiations with the SDF to get him back,
The plane was operating in a piece of Raqqa province around the town of Tabqa where the Syrian army, ISIS, and the Kurdish-dominated SDF are all present and share front lines. Did perhaps the US bring down the Syrian jet in a "preventive" attack where the Su-22 was targeted just for coming "too close" to the American forces on the ground?
You will recall that in southern Syria the US had been "defensively" bombing Syrian army forces simply for coming within 55 kilometers of its al-Tanf base (which is itself in Syria). Meanwhile, it has been reported last week that the US had set up an artillery base not too far north (about 40 kilometers) from where the Syrian fighter-bomber was brought down.
UPDATE -- US has now confirmed it indeed shot down the Syrian plane:
As you can see the US is sticking by the story where the downed Syrian plane was striking SDF positions.
Even providing that is true how come the US, which has installed itself in Syria illegally, gets to defend a secessionist militia from Syria's legal armed forces? Also, how come when Turkey was striking the SDF (which is about every Tuesday) the US did not attack the Turkish military?
Moreover by installing itself on the right bank of the Euphrates at Tabqa the US-backed SDF has blocked off the main highway along the river leading towards Deir ez-Zor.
Unless the SDF concedes this area back to the government, the Syrian army -- which has recently been speedily advancing against ISIS in this area -- is denied the use of the highway, and forced instead to advance along second rate desert paths and even road-less desert. Obviously this greatly complicates its task of reaching and lifting the siege of the encircled city.
Click here for our commenting guidelines