US aircraft in Syria 'targets': Russia

June 19, 2017

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has condemned the US for shooting down a Syrian jet.

A US warplane shot down a Syrian military aircraft that dropped bombs near US-backed fighters in Syria, the US military says.

The US Central Command issued a statement on Sunday saying the plane was downed "in collective self-defence of Coalition-partnered forces", identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqah.

The Syrian army said earlier that the US-led coalition shot down one of its planes during a combat mission against Islamic State militants.

An army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing. It said the incident took place on Sunday afternoon near a village called Rasafah.

The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory", it said.

"This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group."

US-backed forces have encircled the city of Raqqa and captured several districts from the militants.

The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating Islamic State militants in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants' control for almost three years.

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