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Russia Cuts Off Syria Deconfliction Line with U.S. Military

June 19, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry responded to the U.S. shoot-down of a Syrian Air Force jet yesterday, by announcing that, as of today, the deconfliction line between the U.S. headquarters in Qatar and the Russian airbase in Latakia is shut down.

"As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the U.S. side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the U.S. command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken,"

the Defense Ministry statement reads, reports TASS.

"The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The U.S.’s repeated combat operations under the guise of combating terrorism against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,"

the ministry said.

Russia will regard any flights within the area of its air force group’s operation in Syria as legitimate targets, the ministry stressed.

"Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets,"

the report said. The reason for the shutdown, the Russians said, is that Russian aircraft were operating in the same area at the time of the shoot down, and the U.S. did not use the deconfliction line at the time.

"We consider the actions of the U.S. command as a deliberate default on their obligations under the memorandum on preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria signed on October 20, 2015,"

the Defense Ministry stressed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Beijing, where he met with his Chinese counterpart, called on the U.S. and its allies to respect Syrian sovereignty.

"Zones of de-escalation are one of the possible options to jointly move forward" against terrorism.

"We call on everyone to avoid unilateral moves, respect Syrian sovereignty, and join our common work which is agreed with the Syrian Arab Republic’s government,"

Lavrov stated.

"As for the events on the ground in the Syrian Arab Republic, it is necessary to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. Therefore, any actions on the ground, and there are many involved parties, including those who carry out military operations, must be coordinated with Damascus,"

Lavrov said. This is what Russia is doing with Turkey and Iran in the Astana process, he said.

The Syrian General Command denounced the shoot-down, immediately after it happened, as a "flagrant aggression" that

"undoubtedly affirms the U.S. real stance in support of terrorism which aims to affect the capability of the Syrian Arab army—the only active force—along with its allies that practice its legitimate right in combating terrorism all over Syria."

It added that the Syrian pilot was carrying out a strike against ISIS when he was shot down by the U.S. plane.