Tensions rose Sunday as the US shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22 fighter that USA officials said had bombed American-backed Syrian fighters involved in an emerging battle to recapture the Islamic State's self-declared capital of Raqqa.
Russian Federation warned that it may treat US-led coalition aircraft over Syria as targets following the shooting down of a Syrian government warplane, in an escalation of rhetoric between the two rivals in the Middle East conflict.
"In accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of coalition-partnered forces, (the Syrian jet) was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet", it said.
Amping up rhetoric against U.S. actions in the area, Russian Federation said Monday it will consider aircraft west of the Euphrates River "air targets" and track them by air and on land.
A USA fighter jet, for the first time in the Syrian conflict, on Sunday shot down a Syrian warplane that was bombing US-led coalition fighters near Raqqa. USA officials say the aircraft had struck America's rebel allies.
The U.S. shoots down a Syrian fighter jet for the first time.
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"The Russian Federation has indicated that their goal in Syria, like ours, is to defeat ISIS, and we'll see if that's true here in the coming hours", he said.
Sergei Ryabkov said the shooting down of the Syrian air force Sukhoi 22 over Taqba on Sunday was a "continuation of America's line to disregard the norms of worldwide law".
"Any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the worldwide coalition operating west of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets".
Meanwhile, the USA -backed opposition fighters said Assad's forces have been attacking their positions in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.
The US-led coalition on Sunday said it downed the plane after it dropped bombs on American-backed forces fighting ISIL in northern Syria.
Russian Federation has been a staunch supporter of Syria's beleaguered President Bashar Assad and has been providing an air cover for his offensive against IS since 2015.
Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the defense committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, said the defense ministry statement does not mean there will be war with the U.S.in Syria, but rather that Moscow will not accept attacks on its Syrian allies. It has previously claimed it would do so following the USA missile strike on a Syrian air field in April as retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by the Assad government.
For several months the coalition has been backing SDF forces in a long-running attempt to capture the IS stronghold of Raqqa, where the group now holds four neighbourhoods. Russian Federation called it a "cynical" violation of the Arab country's sovereignty.
The Syrian government said the pilot is missing.
Smoke billows from buildings in the northern Syrian city of Raqa on June 18, 2017, during an offensive by US-backed fighters to retake the Islamic State (IS) group bastion.
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