U.S. downing of Assad aircraft ups tensions with Russian Federation in Syria

According to Washington sources, the jet had bombed USA -backed forces.

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group said the U.S. fighter jet shot down the drone "after it displayed hostile intent" while approaching a military camp near the Syria-Jordan border.

The F-15 plane downed the drone around 00:30 on Tuesday (21:30 GMT Monday) north-east of Tanf, according to a United States military statement.

According to a report published by the Washington Post, Pentagon officials said that the Iranian-built drone had "dirty wings", a code term used to indicate an aircraft armed with weapons.

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The presence of Iranian-backed troops, artillery and tanks and USA -led coalition forces in southern Syria, namely around the At Tanf crossing at the Iraq-Syria border, has slowly turned the area into a flash point.

The US shot down another Iranian UAV near At Tanf on June 8 after it dropped a bomb on US-backed militias operating in the area. On Sunday a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 jet in the countryside west of the city of Raqqa. The incident cause Russian Federation to suspend the de-confliction hotline established with the United States to prevent the two countries from accidentally targeting each others' aircraft.

The rising tensions prompted Australia to announce it was suspending its participation in air missions over Syria as part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

U.S. intelligence analysts quickly concluded that Iran fired the missiles mostly in retaliation for a pair of Islamic State attacks earlier this month on Iran's parliament building and the tomb of the Islamic Republic's founder. The drone was shot down shortly after midnight local time, the statement said.

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In the wake of a US F/A-18 shooting down a Syrian Su-22, Russian Federation issued strong warnings to the U.S. by threatening to target USA and US-led coalition planes in Syria. The official said that coalition aircraft made a show of force and conducted a warning maneuver, and the Syrian fighter jet then aborted its trajectory and left the area.

The Russian Defense Ministry halted its "deconfliction" cooperation with the U.S.to prevent aerial incidents Monday and began to track airborne vehicles west of the Euphrates river as targets with advanced surface-to-air missile systems.

A statement from Operation Inherent Resolve said: "Following the pro-Syrian forces' attack, the coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established deconfliction line to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

A USA official told CNN that another Syrian Su-22 fighter made an approach in what the military assessed as a possible bombing run on U.S. backed-Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqa, Syria, on Tuesday. War is politics by other means, and when it starts it takes on a life of its own.

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It is said by the Iranians to have a range of 2,000km (1,240 miles) and capable of carrying bombs and missiles. That means intimidating the USA into inaction while they crush opposition forces.

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