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U.S. Military ‘Repositions’ Its Aircraft over Syria,
But Still Claims ‘Right’ of Self Defense

June 2017

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June 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—If Russian air defense radars are now going to be lighting American aircraft that fly on the wrong side of the Euphrates River in Syria, as the Russian Defense Ministry warned yesterday, then this is going to be a problem for American pilots. The Pentagon said as much, yesterday.

"As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian Regime [sic] and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to re-position aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrew given known threats in the battlespace,"

Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a spokesman at U.S. Air Force’s Central Command, told Reuters.

The Australians, who have six F-18F Super Hornets flying strike missions as part of the U.S.-led coalition out of the UAE, have also decided that this is a problem and have suspended their participation in air strikes altogether. In Canberra, a Defense Department statement said on Tuesday that "Australian Defense Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer maintained that the American shooting down of the Syrian fighter jet over Syrian national territory, was just another act of American self-defense. He also said that the U,S, would work to keep the lines of communication open with Russia.

"ISIS represents a threat to all nations," he said. "We have to do what we can to work with partners." This effort to work with partners, however, doesn’t mean that the U.S. won’t down Syrian aircraft if necessary. Spicer said the United States has the right to defend its coalition partners.

"The escalation of hostilities doesn’t help anybody and the Syrian regime and others in the regime need to understand that we will keep the right to self defense."