Israel and Jordan Intensify Cooperation as Iran Tightens Grip on Southern Syria


Australian warplanes will soon resume airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria after operations were suspended as a precaution because a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane earlier this week, the defense chief said Wednesday.

The armed Shahed-129 drone was destroyed by a U.S. F-15 fighter jet around 12:30 a.m. local time.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on June 19 that Russia's defenses would track the US-led coalition's warplanes and drones west of the Euphrates in Syria after a United States warplane had shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter.

BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian government troops and their allies have steadily positioned themselves in key areas on the flanks of the USA -led coalition battle for the Islamic State's self-declared capital of Raqqa.

On Sunday, the USA shot down a Syrian warplane for the first time, prompting Russian Federation to issue a threat to coalition aircraft flying west of the River Euphrates, saying they "will be considered air targets".

Australia said it would temporarily halt air operations over Syria after the plane was downed.

"My pledge is to be part of the solution, to focus on governing", she said.

USA officials said it remained uncertain as to who was operating the drones - Whether it was Shiite militia fighters, Syrian officers or Iranian advisers. Russian Federation backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran also supports, while the USA -led coalition is aligned with groups that oppose the Assad regime and ISIS.

Two days earlier, an American FA-18 shot down a Syrian SU-22 warplane that had dropped bombs near American-backed fighters combating the Islamic State.

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Russian defense ministry said it will suspend an agreement between the US and Russia that worked to limit the risk of in-flight incidents between the two countries, The Washington Post reported.

The US-led coalition conducted what the Pentagon said was a "show of force" - a reported buzzing of the pro-government troops by jets - to stop the attack and then called the Syrian government's ally, Russia, to try to "de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

In response, Russian Federation announced its air defenses would track all coalition targets west of the Euphrates, and suspend the "deconfliction" hotline.

Binskin said the jet fighters had been occupied recently supporting Iraqi security forces in retaking the city of Mosul, so the suspension had little effect on their operations.

Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a spokesman at U.S. Air Force's Central Command, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, the war of words between the USA and Russian Federation continues to escalate as the civil war grinds on in Syria.

Russia also stopped using a key "de-confliction" communication channel set up to avoid conflict between USA and Russian forces in Syria.

Syria's government is not involved in the operation and is instead looking further east to the largely IS-held oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor.

"We have a chance to make a decision about who's going to lead us whether the president is there or not there, whether his policies are good or bad", said Ware, 63, an attorney.