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US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

WASHINGTON -- The US has long said that it would protect what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces. But Sunday's shooting down of a Syrian regime jet is the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.

 

The US military says it has shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that had bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants. The action appears to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

 

A Pentagon spokesman says the US had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday's confrontation.

 

The US-led coalition headquarters in Iraq says a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the US partner forces. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa.