US warplane shoots down Syrian fighter jet
Assad regime says aircraft targeted while carrying out strikes on IS; first clashes also reported between regime troops and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters
DAMASCUS, Syria — A US fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime plane on Sunday, after it dropped bombs on forces fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria, the American-led coalition said.
“At 6:43 pm (1743 GMT), a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.
It said that two hours earlier, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad attacked Syrian Democratic Forces in the town of Ja’Din south of Tabqah, “wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.” Coalition aircraft then stopped the pro-regime forces’ initial advance with a “show of force,” the coalition added.
Syria said its aircraft was targeting the Islamic state when it was shot down.
“Aircraft from the ‘international coalition’ targeted one of our fighter planes in the Resafa region of southern Raqqa province this afternoon while it was conducting a mission against the terrorist Islamic State group,” the Syrian army said in a statement.
Meanwhile, fighting broke out on Sunday for the first time in Syria between regime troops and a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes took place in the evening at two villages some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the city of Raqqa after the Syrian army accused the US-led coalition of downing one of its warplanes.