Russia’s defense ministry said it would target aircraft from the US-led coalition in Syria, ending a de-confliction agreement aimed at preventing incidents between US and Russian aircraft.
“Any aircraft, including the international coalition’s planes and drones, discovered west of the river Euphrates, will be accompanied by ground and air-based anti-aircraft defenses as aerial targets,” Moscow said in a statement after the US downed a Syrian fighter over the weekend.
The incident was thought to be the first time the US-led coalition fighting Isis has shot down a Syrian jet since the war erupted six years ago, and it comes after several recent incidents in which the US has targeted regime forces and their allies in eastern Syria.
The US military said the downed Syrian plane was dropping bombs near a Syrian Kurdish militia that Washington was backing in the fight against Isis in Raqqa, the jihadi group’s de facto capital.
Moscow, which intervened militarily to back the Syrian regime, condemned the US action, saying it flouted international law.
“What is this other than an act of aggression in violation of the norms of international law?” Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters.
“This, if you like, is help for the terrorists that the US are fighting under what they call their anti-terrorism policy.”