The Russian Defense Ministry called American attacks against the Syrian forces “military aggression” and announced that it would suspend cooperation with the United States intended to prevent airborne accidents over Syria.
“All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The United States will continue to conduct air operations over Syria, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State said on Monday.
“We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground,” the spokesman, Col. Ryan Dillon, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad.
But Pentagon officials emphasized that the situation was still unfolding.
“This is a delicate couple of hours,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday just before speaking at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington. He said that he had no plans to immediately call his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, while the American military was still determining facts on the ground, but that he would talk to him “in time.”
During his appearance at the press club, General Dunford said that the hotline had been used on Monday morning, and added that the United States would work both diplomatically and militarily in the coming hours “to re-establish deconfliction.”
Colonel Dillon did not provide details on what air operations were underway. After the United States carried out the cruise missile attack in April at a Syrian airfield that was used to mount a nerve-gas attack, the American-led air war command initially sent armed drones in and around Raqqa instead of piloted aircraft. That was done to guard against the risk of…