Australia halts Syria air operations after Russian threat

Russian threat to shoot down coalition aircraft gets results as Australia 'temporarily ceases' air operations in Syria.

Gary Willig,

Russian Su-27 fighters
Russian Su-27 fighters

Australia has stopped all air operations in Syria following a threat by Russia to treat all coalition aircraft as military targets, the New York Post reported.

"As a precautionary measure, Australian Defence Force (ADF) strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased,” Australia’s defense department said in a statement Tuesday.

“ADF force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats. ADF personnel are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course. ADF operations in Iraq will continue as part of the coalition.

Russia threatened to shoot down US and coalition aircraft after a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 military aircraft that had attacked a site near Tabqa occupied by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces Sunday.

“Any aircraft, including the international coalition’s planes and drones, discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be accompanied by ground and air-based anti-aircraft defenses as aerial targets,” Moscow said in a statement Monday.

The Pentagon responded to the Russian threat by saying that US pilots would not hesitate to defend themselves, even against Russian attacks.

"We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS, but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if threatened," Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis told The Washington Examiner.