Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Senator: US at risk of military conflict with Russia, Iran in Syria

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Andrew Cummings | 23 June, 2017, 05:00

Russian Federation threatened to down all planes flying west of the Euphrates River after the US-led coalition had downed an Assad regime warplane on Sunday.

The row prompted the Australian government to announce that it would "temporarily" halt its airstrikes in Syria. The Russian ministry accused the USA of a "deliberate failure to make good on its commitments" under the deconfliction deal between the two forces.

The Australians, who have six F-18F Super Hornets flying strike missions as part of the USA -led coalition out of the UAE, have also decided that this is a problem and have suspended their participation in air strikes altogether. While the Assad government said the plane was on a mission against Islamic State militants, the U.S. claimed it dropped bombs near USA forces.

That took place near the Syrian city of Taqba, which has been the focus of fighting as USA -sponsored ground forces advance on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

"I think we're getting closer and closer to open conflict with Iran and Russian Federation, and the American public needs to know that we're moving very fast toward what could be another war inside the Middle East", Murphy told anchor Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day", "something by the way that Donald Trump promised he wouldn't do when he ran for office".

It is the first time in the Syrian conflict that the US-led coalition has shot down a Syrian jet.

Tanf is the town on Syrian border with Jordan where U.S. troops are imparting training to Syrian rebels, officially described as "partner ground forces" in the fight against ISIS.

The U.S. military said it had shot down an armed, Iranian-made drone that had been bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria's southeast on Tuesday, in the latest sign of increasingly frequent confrontation with Damascus and its allies, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Fighting and bombardment meanwhile resumed early Tuesday between Syrian government forces and rebels in the southern city of Daraa and nearby areas, where a 48-hour truce had gone into effect on Saturday.

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While government troops may be far from in control of that area and are unlikely to go after the city of Raqqa, Syria expert Sam Heller of the Century Foundation said the forces "have done enough to insert themselves that they're now a fact on the ground".

A U.S. warplane shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by pro-regime forces in Syria early Tuesday, officials said, prompting growing global concern over rising tensions between the two sides.

At the same time, two USA officials told CNN television that an American F-15E fighter shot down drones on Monday, June 19, 55 kilometers from the border of the de-confliction zone.

Russian Federation backs the Assad Syrian government regime, while the U.S. wants Assad gone and has backed rebels.

The last drone the USA says it shot down was also reportedly destroyed near Tanf after firing on coalition forces.

While Russia has demanded an accounting of the weekend incident, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov asserted on June 20 that the presence of US forces in Syria was "absolutely illegal".

The UK, another key coalition ally, said it would continue to take part in air operations despite Russia's warning.

He says: "We are not the initiator of any conflict and war but we do not tolerate creation of insecurity in our country". And to send an even firmer signal, Iran's spymaster extraordinaire Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Qods Force, was photographed at the border taunting the United States.

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