Russia ends safe flights over Syria deal with US

 20 Jun 2017 - 13:11

Russia ends safe flights over Syria deal with US
An F/A-18 fighter shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday, intensifying tensions between superpowers. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters.

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MOSCOW: Russia on Monday suspended a crucial safe flights over Syria deal with the U.S. under a memorandum after it shot down a Syrian regime’s fighter jet on Sunday. 

Moscow's move came a day after an American Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime SU-22 fighter jet shortly after it allegedly attacked U.S. partner forces on the ground.

The Syrian aircraft had dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces south of Tabqah, which the group seized from IS in May, according to the coalition statement that said the mission closely followed a "pro-Syrian regime forces" advance on the town of Ja'Din.

Russian Defense Ministry said the shooting down of a jet in Syria's airspace was a "violation" of the country's sovereignty and international law.

"As of June 19, Russian Defense Ministry ended its interaction with the U.S. under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing safe flights during operations in Syria," the ministry said in a statement.

"In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and drones of the international coalition, detected in west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian ground-and-air defenses as air targets," it said.

It said the coalition forces did not use existing channels with Russia to avoid incidents over Syria.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday also called on all countries to respect Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying: "We call on the United States and all others who have their forces or their advisers on the ground [in Syria] to ensure coordination in our work."