Pentagon issues implicit threat to shoot down Syrian warplanes

Washington Examiner

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The Pentagon issued a terse warning Friday that the U.S. would act to defend its troops after a close call in Northern Syria in which a pair of Syrian warplanes bombed dangerously close to U.S. special operations forces and the U.S. military scrambled fighter jets.

“We will ensure their safety and the Syrian regime would be well advised not to do things that would place them at risk,” said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.

Asked specifically if that meant the U.S. would shoot down Syrian warplanes that threated U.S. forces, Davis said, “We have the inherent right to self defense. When anybody is striking against U.S. forces, and U.S. forces are at risk, we have the right to take action.”

The incident Thursday involved a “small number” of U.S. special operations advisers who are working with Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State in Northern Syria in an area the Pentagon says was “well-known to everybody to include the regime, that the coalition is actively engaged in operations against ISIL.”

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