An American fighter jet shot down a Syrian government bomber in the skies over northern Syria Sunday after the bomber was observed attacking anti-regime, U.S.-backed fighters.
The military announced in a news release that Syrian bombers controlled by President Bashar Assad attacked Syrian Democratic Forces about 4:30 p.m. Syrian time in the town of Ja'Din, south of Tabqah in the northern part of the country.
The attack wounded a number of Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and drove the group from the town. The attack drew the attention of coalition aircraft, which "conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the SDF-controlled town."
After the attack, coalition officials contacted Russian officials on an established "de-confliction line" to try to calm the situation.
However, at 6:43 p.m. Syrian time, a Syrian regime Su-22 plane began dropping bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces fighters south of Tabqah.
"In accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, [the Syrian plane] was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet," the statement read.
The incident is sure to once again ramp up tensions in the region. It comes on the same day that Iran's Revolutionary Guard fired missiles against Islamic State targets in Syria in retaliation for an attack in Tehran last week.
The military stressed it did not want to fight the Syrian regime, only the Islamic State. But, it would not back down from a threat to its allies in the region.
"The Coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russia or pro-regime forces partnered with them," the statement read, "but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat."