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After US Shoots Down Syrian Fighter Jet, Russia Announces It Will Treat US Planes in Syria as Targets

Over the weekend, the United States shot down a Syrian aircraft it dropped a bomb close to U.S.-backed ground forces. In response, the Russian military has announced that they will be treating U.S. planes operating in parts of Syrian airspace as targets and that they will shut down some forms of communication with the American military.

CNN’s Barbara Starr says that they statement coming from Moscow is a “fairly political statement,” and “U.S. officials right now are saying they do not think they are going to be targeted by  the Russians.” However, Starr makes clear that the question going forward is, “What are the Russians really after now?”

Starr also reports on the Russians announcement to cease communication with the U.S. on the “de-confliction line.” This line has been operating between the American and Russian militaries in order for the two nations to coordinate where the two world powers are flying in the region.

According to Starr, the Russians have threatened to cease this communication before; however, military officials on the ground have continued to communicate with their U.S. counterparts.

Former State Department Spokesman John Kirby told CNN that the Pentagon hopes the U.S. shooting down a “deterrent effect.” Kirby says that the U.S. shot the plane down in hopes of stopping the Syrian regime from dropping bombs near U.S.-backed forces in the future.

Kirby also states the de-confliction line was conceptualized by the Russians, and that while they have threatened to shut it down before, “they’ve always come right back to the table.”