US Responds to Russians After Shooting Down Syrian Fighter Jet: ‘We will not hesitate to defend ourselves’

An F/A-18E Super Hornet (U.S. Navy photo/Aaron B. Hicks)

U.S officials aren’t backing down from Russian threats after a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane this weekend, telling reporters that “we will not hesitate to defend ourselves” from Russian forces in the Syrian conflict.

On Sunday a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 after Pentagon officials say the Syrian plane dropped bombs on Syrian Democratic Forces operating near U.S. partner forces fighting ISIS. Sunday’s incident is the first time in nearly 20 years that a U.S. plane has taken down another fighter in air-to-air combat.

Russian officials responded yesterday, warning that any airborne objects west of the Euphrates River would be tracked by Russian ground and air defenses as targets.

Today Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the strike proves America’s “open complicity” with terrorists, telling Russian news agencies, “In the case of strikes [by US forces on the aircraft and drone of the Syrian Armed Forces], we are dealing with an open complicity with the terrorists operating on Syrian soil.”

“What is this, if not an act of aggression,” he asked.

U.S. officials maintain that they acted in self-defense. Capt. Jeff Davis told Fox News that while “we do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS… we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford reiterated Davis’s stance during a speech at the National Press Club on Monday.

“I’m confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russia federation operations center — and I’m also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves,” Dunford said.

Dunford’s statement proved prophetic earlier today as U.S. forces shot down an armed pro-Syrian drone that advanced on coalition forces.

“The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces,” according to a statement issued by Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS.

The coalition “has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the deconfliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.”

The U.S. is also taking precautionary measures in order to continue its fight against ISIS in Syria.

“As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian Regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to re-position aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrew given known threats in the battlespace,” Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said in a statement.

In addition to the Syrian warplane, U.S. forces also shot down another Syrian drone earlier this month.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • stellerseaeagle June 24, 2017, 12:11 am

    The Syrian plane that was shot down was not engaged against US forces. Rather it was attacking rebel forces involved in this Syrian Civil war. Our “partner” or “coalition” forces are not covered by a defense treaty like NATO. We, in effect, downed a warplane of a sovereign nation while flying in their own airspace without provocation. And for what? Assad has not harmed a single American citizen, in spite of the fact we have repeatedly bombed him. Please tell me why we should risk war with Russia over someone else’s civil war.

  • Grant Stevens June 23, 2017, 2:26 pm

    I don’t recall the US Congress declaring war on Syria as required by Article. I. Section. 8. of the United States Constitution, “resolutions” and the illegal War Powers Act notwithstanding. In fact, the last time Congress declared war was World War II, the last war America won. Our founding fathers warned us against such “foreign entanglements” and framed the Constitution to prevent our military from becoming the private army of the ruling elite. In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned us about the undue influence of the military-industrial complex on our political-economic system. From Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya and now Syria, American taxpayers have spent trillions-of-dollars to do nothing more than enrich the Wall Street merchants of death and their shareholders. It is time to purge Washington, D. C. of these self-serving warmongers before they start a thermo-nuclear war with Russia. Those who believe there will be a “winner” after such an exchange are insane. We violate the Constitution at our own peril.

    • eric June 24, 2017, 3:08 pm

      Don’t worry. Loretta Lynch said we should describe it as a “matter.”

  • mauser6863 June 23, 2017, 12:22 pm

    What a mess. Newsflash, there are no “Good People” in Syria. We have no friends or allies there, only scum we have chosen to help fight other scum.

    Whatever the end game is here, it needs to be stated and supported by the American People. We have been dragged into enough conflicts for the sake of the Banks and the Oil Companies, etc.

    The Russians want to prop-up the Assad regime in order to prevent a new oil and natural gas pipeline from connecting Europe and the Middle East. As we told the stupid Europeans decades ago, Russia would use their gas pipeline for leverage against them. They did this when they shut down the gas pipeline to Ukraine in the Winter for “Routine Maintenance”.

    So basically our boys are fighting Saudi Arabian created ISIS, to move them out of the way for a Saudi Arabian Gas Pipeline to Europe. Turkey, who is Russia’s traditional enemy, is backing their own “fighters” as well and would likely benefit from a pipeline too.

    So if the strategic goal is to build a pipeline, Assad has to die and his regime along with it. The Russians have to agree to quit the battlefield.and not escalate the conflict. No one wants NATO Member Turkey to invade Syria, but that could easily happen and a Russian/Turkey conflict could start up in earnest.

    The Turks are not Arabs and can actually fight. They could easily defeat all the Russian and Syrian forces in the country today. However there is no upside for them to do this, at this time. A permanent Russian army on their Southern Border, would be a reason to attack now, before that army grows and becomes a threat.

    The people of the United States need to tell the Saudis and their Banker buddies that we are done and aren’t fighting for them to get richer. It was no accident that Trump’s first trip was to Saudi, so the prospects of that happening are simply zero.

  • skipNclair June 23, 2017, 12:15 pm

    So the uninvited guest is telling the host and his guest that they have no rights to determine how the party should go, the uninvited guest is making demands, and rather than showing a little bit of class and good character by shutting its pie hole and exiting the party it has no business being at, even has the arrogance to brag about how they are quite capable of defending themselves. No one has any doubts about what your capable of in regards to killing, as you have had more practice than all the other guest combined, your so good at it, killing that is, you have no conscience when you kill innocent women and children and or people attending weddings and funerals, one would think this evil party crasher would exit the area, go home and clean your own house before showing more arrogance, ignorance, stupidity, how obnoxious the crasher can be, and how they prove not only to the guest and the host but the rest of the world that they have gone absolutely insane.

  • larry June 23, 2017, 9:27 am

    We’re really upset that Russia is trying to end this war, when we’re very busy supplying both sides hoping it will go on forever and making billions for the defense industry and bankers.

    That we’re broke doesn’t seem to dawn on anyone.

    I prefer not to wait to stop this insanity until our heroes have to fight a first class enemy in Russia instead of farmers with flintlocks.

    • Mo'Catz June 23, 2017, 1:21 pm

      Larry is right but I will add,we will act in self defense because after all, those terrorists on the ground are our fighters. The United Snakes of Rothchilds has been using jihadists as front line fighters for 40 years, and we’ll defend them at all costs. there are no moderate rebels.
      LONG LIVE JIHAD! USA, USA, USA!

  • Richard Steven Hack June 20, 2017, 7:40 pm

    All of which was a lie. The Syrian jet was, by all accounts except the US’, bombing ISIS elements several miles from the so-called “deconfliction zone” – which is NOT, by the way, one which was agreed upon by Russian and the US previously.

    The real purpose of the strike appears to have been to try to prevent the Syrian Arab Army from capturing an important town on the road between Raqaa and Deir Ezzor, which is allegedly being used by ISIS to send forces from Raqaa (which is under threat by US proxy and Syrian forces) to Deir Ezzor which has been under siege by ISIS for a long time. This is what Russia means when they say the US is “helping ISIS.”

    An additional reason is that the US appears to be attempting to use its Syrian and Kurdish proxy forces to carve out a section of Syria in order to defacto “partition” Syria after ISIS is defeated. This was involved in the issue of the Al Tanf border crossing between Iraq and Syria. The US attacked Syrian forces in that area earlier to prevent Syria from controlling that crossing. But the Russians and Syrian forces did an end-run around and secured the border and linked up with Iraqi forces anyway. This resulted in US forces being “boxed in” around Al-Tanf which interferes with their apparent plans against Syria.

    In addition, the US jet attack was done without notifying Russia under the rules of the agreement to control air operations by both forces.

    The statement that the US is “repositioning its forces” is because the F-18 from the carrier had to overfly Russian air defenses to get to its target. Russia could have shot it down at any time. So now the US will have to either ground its carrier forces or force them to fly a dogleg around the restricted area west of the Euphrates.

    Russia’s next move is likely to use its air-to-air fighters to escort Syrian fighter-bombers on their bomb runs. This will force the US to decide whether they want to continue provocations by directly engaging Russian forces.

    It is useful to remember that the US is illegally operating in Syria while Russia was legally invited by the Syrian government. The US primary goal remains overthrowing the Syrian government while allegedly fighting ISIS. Russia’s primary goal remains destroying ISIS (and Al-Qaeda) in Syria and ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian government.

    One rarely gets this sort of background intel from the mainstream media.

    • BobD June 23, 2017, 6:59 am

      Mr. Hack (?) It appears your definition of “intel” is markedly different than that of the Intelligence Community, and rightfully so, as it appears to be nothing more than a press release from inside the Kremlin. It’s no wonder the mainstream media shies away from “background intel” such as your pitiful effort of “copy and paste,” as it would drive them out of business in short order. I am certain most readers will see this as the crap that it is and go onto something a little less focused on the Russian agenda. By the way, am I correct in assuming the avatar you’re using is supposed to portray a superhero? Good God; get a grip.

      • FALPhil June 23, 2017, 7:53 am

        Horsepucky, Bob. Like the USA government NEVER lies to it’s citizens, right?

        First of all, the USA has no business in Syria. Period. The involvement there is nothing more than trying to shore up an increasingly shaky empire that the people of the USA never asked for.

        Secondly, the Russians are not a threat to the USA. In actality, the reverse is true. The USA destabilized the democraticly elected government of the largest trading partner on the Russian western border. Any nation would be alarmed at that.

        The insanity of picking a fight with Russia needs to stop. Followed to it’s logical conclusion, millions, maybe billions of people will die. If anyone needs to get a grip, Bob, it’s you and the other sabre rattlers who are always looking for a jingoistic pissing match.

        • joe June 23, 2017, 9:30 am

          Forgive him, he’s one of the 3 people left in this country that doesn’t realize the MSM is the PR arm of the state.

      • ILL WILL June 23, 2017, 10:59 am

        So glad to finally see educated commentary on GA. Bob, you’re severely outmatched in today’s world, sorry. The flow of information and uncovering of centuries of deceptions is unstoppable and truth is being told out there. Just not by “the good guys”

    • Mike Lamb June 23, 2017, 8:22 am

      That was exactly what I also understand. Folks you must alternative, private or 2nd source news to get a truthful understanding of what is going on concerning all National and International news. The mass news media seems to have another agenda, other than honest news.

      • John June 24, 2017, 11:10 pm

        Mass Media ,, Honest News ? LOL

    • mtman2 October 13, 2017, 10:02 am

      So just who are the “legitimate” Syrian forces –
      1) Assad
      – or –
      2) The Syrian people that are clearly fighting for freedom from brutally oppressive gubberment.
      “Underneath” (Freudian slip) – it all- where is and who knows where the 1,000’s of tons of Saddam’s missing nerve gas is(weapons of mass destruction)?
      1) Assad
      – or –
      2) ISIS
      This is still hidden from public information-!
      So where does that “factor” in with these 4 players in Syria~???

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