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Syria war: RAAF temporarily halts missions after US jet shoots down Syrian bomber

ABC News logo ABC News 5 days ago Andrew Greene

F/A-18 Hornet in flying display. © Commonwealth of Australia F/A-18 Hornet in flying display.

Australia has temporarily halted air operations over Syria after the United States downed a Syrian military jet that dropped bombs near US-led Coalition fighters in western Raqqa.

The suspension comes amid increasing tension between the US and Russia, with Russian officials describing the incident as a dangerous escalation.

A Defence spokesman has told the ABC force protection was regularly reviewed and combat missions were continuing over Iraq.

"Australian Defence Force (ADF) 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," a spokesman said.

A written statement from the US coalition in Iraq said a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The shoot-down was near Tabqah — a Syrian town in an area that has been a week-long focus of fighting against Islamic State group militants by the SDF, as they surround the city of Raqqa and attempt to retake it.

The US military statement said it acted in "collective self-defence" of its partner forces and the US did not seek a fight with the Syrian Government or its Russian supporters. 

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