Australia Suspending All Air Operations Amid Escalating Conflict

Russia issues a heated response after the United States shot down a Syrian air force jet late Sunday, prompting Australia to suspend all air operations.

Australia's announces Tuesday their move to suspend air combat missions over Syria. This statement comes following a warning from Moscow that coalition planes flown west of Euphrates may be possible targets. The Russian Ministry of Defence called the acts by the United States an act of military aggression and a cynical violation.

Russian's Stand Against US Coalition Aircraft

Russia announced Monday that they would treat all United States led coalition aircraft as potential targets if they fly west of the River Euphrates in Syria. Russia specifically states that they will use missile system and military aircraft to track any and all aircraft flying over the state area, but fall short of saying they will actually shoot down the targets.

ADF Issues Statement Regarding Operation Suspension

Australia's Department of Defense issued a statement saying they have temporarily ceased all defense force air strike operations into Syria as a precautionary measure. Personnel at the Australia Department of Defense will continue to closely monitor the situation in Syria before they determine to resume any operations over Syria.

The Australian Defense Forces close the statement by ensuring operations in Iraq will continue without interruption.

Australia's Involvement

In 2015, Australia expanded their contribution to Iraq in their fight against ISIS by basing 780 defense personnel throughout the Middle East. Their current Air Task Group is composed of KC-30A Multi-Role Tankers and Transport planes, as well as six F/A-18 Hornets and one E-7A Wedgetail Airborne aircraft with a Control and Early Warning system.

Earlier in June 2017, Australia announced that they support the United States' annihilation tactics for fighting ISIS. The country announced that they too support stopping individuals fighting for ISIS from returning to their home countries in order to carry out attacks.

Situational Background

Conflict over Syria continues to escalate after a jet from the United States shot down a drone operated by the Syrian Government. The drone, which was made by Iran, was flying near Tanf. The United States assumed the drone was armed and threatening current coalition troops that were on the ground.

Last month, the United States military announced that they killed Turki al-Binali, the Islamic State's top cleric, during an air strike last month in Syria.

Possible Chain Reaction Likely

Australia's suspension of air activity over Syria may prompt other countries to follow. The protective measures taken by Australia may increase concern among other countries participating in the campaign against ISIS.

If there is any indication that the international anti-ISIS coalition is lacking unity, or that the United State's military position is weaker, this could indicate growing strength for the Syrian regime and Russia.

The United Kingdom stated they will continue their air operations over Syria dispute any threats or warnings issued by Russia.

Australia plans to continue air operations sometime in the near future, but an exact date has not yet been determined.