Australia halts air strikes over Syria amid US-Russia tensions

London [U.K], June 20 (ANI): Australia has suspended air strikes over Syria 'as a precautionary measure' after Russia threatened that it would consider any plane from the U.S. led coalition flying west of Euphrates as potential targets, following the U.S. downing of Syrian military jet.
As a precautionary measure, Australian defence force strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased," Australia's Department of Defence said in a statement.
Australia has six fighter jets based in the United Arab Emirates that strike targets in Syria and Iraq. Australia said its sorties in Iraq would continue as part of the coalition.
Australian defence force personnel are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course," Guardian quoted the spokesman for the Department of Defence .
The tensions between Moscow and Washington escalated after United States Navy F-18 attacked Syrian Su-22 government warplane, on Sunday which was carrying out operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions south of Tabqah. Consequently, the Russian military halted cooperation with its US counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria.
The U.S. military failed to use the communication line with Russia concerning this attack, despite the fact that Russian warplanes were also on a mission in Syrian airspace at the time, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Russia's defence ministry said the US had given it no warning, following which Moscow was also suspending coordination over "deconfliction zones" that were created to prevent incidents involving US and Russian jets engaged in operations in Syria, reports the Guardian.
However, the Pentagon states that the Syrian jet had dropped bombs near US partner forces involved in the fight to extract Raqqa from Islamic State (ISIS) control.
Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said: "This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America's line to disregard the norms of international law."(ANI)

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