A US military jet has shot down a Syrian warplane that dropped bombs near US-backed fighters in Syria, the US has said.
US Central Command said in a statement that the plane was shot down “in collective self-defence of Coalition-partnered forces”.
The forces, who were operating near Tabqa at the time, were later identified as fighters form the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Syria said earlier that the US-led Coalition had shot down one of its planes while it was on a combat mission against Islamic State fighters.
The US statement said: “Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the SDF-controlled town.
“Following the Pro-Syrian forces attack, the Coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established ‘de-confliction line’ to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing.
“At 6.43pm, a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqa and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet.
“Ja’Din sits approximately 2km north of an established East-West SDF-Syrian Regime de-confliction area.
“The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.”
Tabqa was an IS stronghold until a month ago when it was taken back by the SDF, with the help of air and ground support from the Coalition.
In May, US warplanes also struck Syrian pro-regime forces in a mission to protect British and American soldiers in the country’s southeast.
British jets are not thought to have involved in the latest action in Tabqa, having most recently been part of attacks on IS in and around Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq