On Sunday, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 warplane near Ja’Din in the western part of the province of Raqqah.
Ja’Din is located in the area south of the town of Tabqah controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Su-22 was supporting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advance towards the ISIS-held town of Resafa located at the Ithriyah-Rusafa-Raqqa road when it was downed by the US warplane.
The Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement that “This attack comes at a time when the Syrian Arab army and its allies are advancing in the fight against ISIS terrorists who are being defeated in the Syrian desert in more ways than one.”
It added that the US attack was aimed to undermine the government forces effort against ISIS terrorists.
In turn, the US-led coalition argued that the Su-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters.
“At 6:43pm, a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet.”
However, the SDF-SAA contact line is located just north of Resafa. Thus, “near SDF fighters” could mean that the warplane was just supporting SAA troops operating against ISIS.
In this case, the US move is another attempt to draw red lines for the internationally recognized government of Syria. Washington sees successfull SAA operations against ISIS as a threat to the US influence in the war-torn country.
The American side unofficially confirmed this saying in the statement that the Coalition does not seek to “fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.”