The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), will suspend all air strike action in Syria, Australia's Department of Defence announced on Tuesday night, after Russia's foreign ministry declared that any coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River, which runs through the northern part of Syria, would be considered a "target."
The warning comes in response to the news that a U.S. Navy plane shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday, with Russia's Foreign Ministry saying, "All kinds of airborne vehicles... detected to the west of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by the Russian surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, as air targets."
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Australia's Department of Defence said, as a "precautionary measure," the RAAF would suspend all missions in Syria until further notice.
"Australian Defence Force (ADF) protection is regularly reviewed, in response to a range of potential threats. ADF personnel are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course."
There are currently six Australian bombers based out of the United Arab Emirates, which are used to attack targets in both Iraq and Syria, and while operations in Syria will be halted, the Department of Defence said ADF missions in Iraq would "continue as part of the coalition."
While Australia is part of the U.S.-led coalition targeting Daesh strongholds in both of the Middle Eastern nations, its focus has primarily been on Iraq, in recent months. According to the ADF, the RAAF has carried out no bombing missions in Syria, since Apr this year
Source: NAM News Network