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Led coalition downs Iran-made drone in Syria

A Russian fighter jet came “within several feet” of an Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea and lingered by the side of the U.S. plane for several minutes on Monday, U.S. military officials said.The incidents mark an escalation in the area around At Tanf – a base near the Syrian-Jordanian border manned by coalition forces that are advising an anti-ISIS Syrian rebel group.On Sunday, a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet near the town Tabqa for the first time, US -led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a statement.Russian Federation on Monday said that it was closing the communication line after a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet downed a Syrian government SU-22 fighter-bomber on Sunday.Last month, US-led coalition aircraft bombed a convoy of pro-Syrian government forces near Tanf.Davis noted Monday that most of the coalition’s air operations occur east of the Euphrates, where ISIS has a larger presence, and that the USA has not seen behavior from Russian Federation that would “cause us concern”.In Canberra, a Defense Department statement said on Tuesday that “Australian Defense Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats”.A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria.”I think Iran is trying to preemptively shape what a U.S. – Iran conflict would look like, keep us focused on eastern Syria and away from key Iranian interests in the west”, said Jennifer Cafarella, an expert on the Syrian conflict at the Institute for the Study of War.Moscow has now suspended a hotline meant to prevent confrontations in Syria’s crowded air space, and warned it could consider US-led coalition planes “targets”.”There has been neither a Security Council decision, nor a request from the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic as a sovereign state”, Russia’s Interfax news reported.The last drone the United States says it shot down was also reportedly destroyed near Tanf after firing on coalition forces.That was a rarity in modern warfare, representing the first time the U.S. Air Force had downed a manned jet since 1999.The U.S. has sought to block this advance by unilaterally declaring a “de-confliction line” restricted to forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian government and its allies, which include Iran. It said operations would continue over Iraq.Russia disputed claims that its aircraft was at fault during the encounter and said it intercepted two U.S. reconnaissance aircraft as they “approached the Russian state border”.The Russian plane was “flying at a high rate of speed” and the pilot had “poor control of the aircraft”, a spokesman for the US European Command, Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez, said, as cited by AP.