United States coalition in first downing of Syrian army plane

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The U.S. has maintained its broadening military involvement in Syria is part of the global fight against ISIS, and has avoided engaging directly with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the larger civil war playing out in Syria.

The F-15 intercepted the drone and shot it down after the unmanned aircraft failed to divert its course, the statement added.

CNN has learned new details of Sunday's rare air-to-air encounter between a Syrian Su-22 fighter and two US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets in the skies over Syria, the first time a US warplane has downed a manned aircraft since 1999. It's an area over which Iran hopes to establish strategic control, thereby creating a corridor from Lebanon and Syria through Baghdad to Tehran.

Immediately after the Syrian Su-22 fighter jet dropped its bombs, two American F/A-18E Super Hornets, flying from the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, engaged, firing a AIM-9 Sidewinder - a short-range air-to-air missile - at the Syrian plane from about half a mile away, two U.S. officials told CNN.

It was an Iranian-made Shahed 129 and was thought to be armed and in firing range of United States troops. That Syrian aircraft had dropped bombs near the SDF south of the city of Tabqah.

The defence department declared the suspension on Tuesday after Russian Federation threatened to shoot down any plane from the US-led coalition they spotted flying west of the Euphrates river.

Asked Tuesday whether the hotline was no longer being used, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said he could not discuss the matter beyond saying the USA stands ready to use the line. If we had clarified a month ago that the airspace in eastern Syria would remain under USA control, we could have leveraged our adversaries' fear of Trump's unpredictability to keep them out.

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Meanwhile, the US and Russian militaries swapped accusations about an unsafe intercept involving a USA spy plane and a Russian fighter jet over the Baltic Sea.

A close look at the map shows that pro-Assad troops have placed themselves in key locations in the anti-IS battle, while staying close to the US -backed Kurdish forces who lead the ground offensive.

Davis noted Monday that most of the coalition's air operations occur east of the Euphrates, where ISIS has a larger presence, and that the USA has not seen behavior from Russian Federation that would "cause us concern". The Russian military department also ceased to cooperate with the United States in the framework of the memorandum on the prevention of incidents in the sky over Syria. "We continue to operate, making some adjustments for prudent measures", he said.

The U.S. military meanwhile confirmed Tuesday that top IS cleric Turki al-Binali was killed in a coalition airstrike on May 31, in Mayadeen, Syria.

"The coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally".

In another development, the USA military announced officially that coalition forces had killed the top cleric of so-called Islamic State (IS), Turki al-Binali, in an air strike in Syria last month.

"It displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces", the statement said. The ministry said strikes in neighboring Iraq, also part of the USA -led coalition campaign, will go on.

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