Moscow, Russia. The Russian Federation has delivered it’s ultimatum to American military leaders in Syria, with their red line clearly defined. If you are an American pilot, flying West of the Euphrates River, you are a dead man flying is the word from Moscow.
The Russian Ministry of Defense called the downing of the Syrian warplane by the US a “violation of the sovereignty” of Syria. The Ministry stated that any drones and aircraft of the US-led coalition in Syria flying to the west of the Euphrates River would now be tracked by Russian air defense and treated as targets.
Moscow condemned the downing of the Syrian jet after it dropped bombs near the US backed Syrian Democratic Anti-Assad Forces that are fighting the Islamic State group in Syria’s increasingly complicated civil war.
The Russian Ministry of Defense demanded a “thorough investigation” by the US military regarding the Syrian plane incident. Earlier, the United States Central Command explained that the Syrian warplane was shot down because it was dropping bombs near US supported moderate terrorists.
The U.S. military said that before the strike, they contacted Russian armed forces through a special channel in order to “reduce the tension and stop the bombing”. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the Coalition command did not use the established communication channel to provide this information.
The Russian military command added that at the time of the incident there were Russian warplanes in the area performing their designated tasks. “We consider the actions of the United States command as a deliberate failure to comply with its obligations under the Memorandum of October 20, 2015 on the prevention of incidents and aviation security in Syria.” stated the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The downing of the warplane — the first time in the conflict that the U.S. has shot down a Syrian jet — came as Iran fired several ballistic missiles at IS positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for two attacks by the extremists in Tehran earlier this month that killed 17 people.
Russia and the United States previously adopted a memorandum on the safety of flights in Syria in October 2015. The document regulates the actions of all aircraft and drones in Syrian airspace.