A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces,” was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.
“The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group. “The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat. “
The US had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the US has said since it began recruiting, training and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight IS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.
America has been flexing its muscles in Syria ever since President Donald Trump came to power, with a pledge to give more power to the Pentagon.
He strongly criticised his predecessor, Barack Obama, for his inability to resolve the Syrian civil war – even blaming Mr Obama for creating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).