Over the weekend, the situation in Syria between the United States, the Russians and the Syrians took a very serious turn after an American fighter jet shot a Syrian aircraft out of the sky.
The United States has defended its actions by stating that the Syrian plane was warned, but continued to bomb the Syrian Defense Force — a Syrian rebel group backed by the United States.
Russia in particular was outraged over this action, and issued a statement on Monday morning stating that they would “track” any United States planes that flew west of the Euphrates River. On Monday afternoon, the United States responded, The Washington Examiner reported.
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“We are aware of the Russian statements,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS, but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened.”
That’s a pretty strong response, and it was definitely called for. While Russia’s statement did not specifically use the words “shoot down,” it clearly described aircraft flying in some areas as “targets” for destruction.
“From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets,” read the Russian Defense Ministry statement, according to CNN.
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Russia was essentially trying to dictate where America can and cannot fly in the Middle East — and Defense Secretary James Mattis’ Pentagon wasn’t going to let that happen. [MORE REACTION TO THE RUSSIANS, VIDEO ON NEXT PAGE]