A US warplane shot down a pro-Assad military aircraft that dropped bombs near American-backed fighters in Syria, the Pentagon said.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces shot down the regime's aircraft flying over Ja'Din, south of Tabqa, Syria, on Sunday afternoon - making it the first time that a US-led coalition has shot down a pro-Assad aircraft during its battle against the self- proclaimed Islamic State.
The US Central Command issued a statement saying the plane was downed 'in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,' identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqah.
Pro-Assad forces attacked the SDF at around 4:30 pm, local time, injuring several soldiers and forcing them to leave Ja'Din, the Pentagon says.
The attack prompted the SDF to call the Russian army to stop firing and 'de-escalate' the shooting.
'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,' said a statement from U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, Operation Inherent Resolve.
The Syrian government issued a statement after its military plane was shot down, accusing the United States army of supporting terrorism.
The pilot manning the aircraft flying was hit, according to the Syrian army, but his condition is unknown.
The United States Army reiterated in its statement that its sole purpose was to defeat ISIS and not to fight with the regime.
The statement said: '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.
Both sides have been competing over who will reclaim Raqqa, the ISIS capital. The SDF announced just two weeks ago that it was launching its campaign to capture the town, and only a week later, the Syrian regime also said it was beginning its offense.
The US-led coalition as well as the pro-Assad regime have had shoot outs and launched airstrikes against each other in recent weeks.