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United States jet shoots down Iranian drone over Syria

Australian warplanes will soon resume airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria after operations were suspended as a precaution because a USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane earlier this week, the defense chief said Wednesday.The shoot down comes two days after the US announced it shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near USA -backed Syrian Kurdish forces advancing on ISIS’s stronghold of Raqqa.The drone, downed near a combat outpost in the town of At-Tanf, was the second one shot down by USA forces in 12 days; the downing comes as Pentagon officials are working to defuse heightened tensions in southeastern Syria. This is the same location where another pro-regime drone dropped munitions near coalition forces before it was shot down June 8.In recent weeks, US-led coalition’s warplanes struck pro-Assad government forces to prevent them advancing from the Al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria at a spot where the country’s borders meet Iraq and Jordan.The United States has moved quickly to contain an escalation of the situation after the jet was downed on Sunday evening when regime forces targeted the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters battling IS. That incident angered Russian Federation, which intervened in the Syrian civil war on Syria’s behalf in 2015 and has a hotline with the U.S.to deconflict airspace and make sure their air forces don’t collide mid-air.Despite the recent violence, US officials stressed they have no plans to escalate fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.Russian Federation made clear it was changing its military posture in response to the U.S. downing of a Syrian military jet on Sunday, which, according to Damascus, is the first such incident since the start of the conflict in 2011.When asked about the downing, White House Secretary Sean Spicer said that that U.S. wanted to keep an open line of communication with the Russians. Such a stance inevitably will lead the U.S. into more conflict with the Assad regime and with Russian Federation.The announcement from Canberra came as a brief, two-day truce collapsed in the southern Syrian city of Daraa and nearby areas where government forces have gained ground.Despite the increasing number of incidents, analysts say neither Syria’s regime nor Washington now wants a major confrontation. This could out USA and Russian forces in direct conflict.A USA fighter jet shot down a pro-regime drone in southern Syria near the border with Iraq. 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.All we were able to see from it is the aggression and strikes on the Syrian people and the Syrian government army”, he told Sputnik. Tuesday’s incident marked the third time the USA has shot a pro-government aircraft from the sky within a month.