The White House said the the United States is committed to its "self-defense" Monday in response to comments from Russia threatening to treat U.S. or coalition aircraft as targets western Syria.
"Obviously, we're going to do what we can to protect our interests," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during an off-camera gaggle on Monday.
Spicer said the "escalation of hostilities among the many factions that are operating in this region doesn't help anybody" and they hope to de-escalate the situation by keeping lines of communication open with the Russians.
"We will always preserve the right of self-defense," Spicer added.
The Russian Defense Ministry made the threat after a U.S. F/A-18 Super Hornet downed a Syrian bomber a day earlier.
"Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets," according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.
Anna Giaritelli contributed to this report.