The RAAF has halted air operations over Syria following clashes with government forces

The RAAF’s first EA-18G Growler aircraft. Photo: Photo: Sgt Mick Bott/Department of Defence.

The RAAF has put a halt to air operations over Syria amid rising tensions after the US-led coalition clashed with forces backing the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad over the weekend.

An incident — the fourth in a month — which saw the downing of a Syrian army jet in the country’s north, edges US-led coalition forces closer to the possibility of an all-out clash in Syria with Russia and Iran.

According to the defence force, the operations ceased temporarily as a “precautionary measure” and a decision to resume would be made “in due course”.

“ADF force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats,” Defence said.

“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.

“ADF operations in Iraq will continue as part of the coalition.”

The increased conflict between the US-led coalition and pro-Syrian government forces has escalated in recent weeks, as both sides jockey to assume control of territory given up by ISIS as the terrorist group loses strength in Syria.

But activities leading up to the downing of the Syrian jet is the first time Russian and Syrian have seriously impinged on the US-led coalition campaign against Islamic State militants.

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