US plane shoots down Syrian Air Force jet after partner forces bombed
A US military jet has shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter plane that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants.
The US-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said that a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the Syrian Democratic Forces near the town of Tabqa.
The move appears to mark a new escalation of the conflict.
The US military said it acted in "collective self defence" of its partner forces and the US does not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters.
US forces tangled earlier this month with Syria-allied aircraft in the region.
On June 8, US officials reported that a drone probably connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on US-backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet.
The incident took place in southern Syria near a base where the US-led coalition was training Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group.
An Army spokesman at the Pentagon said at the time that the drone carried more weapons and was considered a direct threat, prompting the shooting.
Just hours earlier, the US bombed Syrian government and allied troops inside a protected zone in that area, and marked a sharp escalation in the skirmishes between the coalition and pro-Syrian government forces there.