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Russia threatens to shoot down US coalition planes

The Russian Defence Ministry warned yesterday that it would treat any plane flown by US forces or their allies west of the Euphrates river as "targets".

The threat came after the US downed an army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside.

The US said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces, Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Daesh.

The Russian defence ministry also announced in a statement the suspension of its communications channel with US forces, which were designed to prevent collisions and dangerous incidents in Syrian airspace.

Read: White House says it retains right to self-defence in Syria

The ministry demanded the US army conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and provide Moscow with information on its results as well as actions taken in its wake.

The Russian Defence Ministry said:

All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defence systems as targets

The ministry said it considers the US military's actions as a deliberate failure to fulfil its obligations under the Syria-US Security Memorandum of Understanding on Flight safety signed on 20 October 2015.

Since this announcement, Australia has suspended its participation in the coalition's operations in Syria.

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