USA shot down Syrian plane that bombed coalition-backed fighters

At least 117 killed in US-backed Syrian offensive to expel Islamic State

An initial attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad occurred at 4:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET), causing an unknown number of casualties and driving out SDF fighters, the coalition said in a statement.

The U.S. military statement says it acted in "collective self defense" of its partner forces and that the U.S. does not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters.

The "flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory", the Syrian army said.

A USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian jet that had dropped bombs on Coalition-partnered forces, according to a news release from the Colaition Joint Task Force. As the attack unfolded, the US military used a deconfliction channel to communicate with the Syrian government to stop the skirmish, according to the Pentagon statement.

"The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated". They added that the pilot of the destroyed plane is still missing after the USA attack. US-backed forces have encircled the city of Raqqa and captured several districts from ISIL fighters.

The incident marks the first time a USA jet has shot down a manned hostile aircraft in more than a decade, and is a marked escalation in the six-year-old Syrian conflict.

"The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria", the Pentagon's statement said.

A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday, giving the US military its first air-to-air kill since 1999.

More recently, a US aircraft shot down an armed Syrian drone on June 8 after it attacked coalition forces on a joint patrol with partner forces in southern Syria.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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