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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Australia resumes aerial missions over Syria

Iran Press TV

Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:29AM

Australia has resumed aerial missions over Syria two days after it suspended them amid rising tensions between a US-led coalition and the Russian military in the Arab country.

Australia's Defense Ministry made the announcement on Thursday, saying the suspension had been "a precautionary measure to allow the coalition to assess the operational risk," adding that, "The suspension has since been lifted."

Australian Defense Force Chief Mark Binskin said a day earlier that the flights had been temporarily halted while officials examined what he described as a "complex piece of airspace" over Syria.

On June 18, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Sukhoi SU-22 aircraft, which was conducting an operation against Daesh on the outskirts of Syria's northern city of Raqqah.

The downing of the Syrian warplane triggered Russia to threaten that it would treat all coalition flights west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential "targets" and track them with missile systems. Russia also suspended a military hotline that had been set up to avoid accidental military confrontations between Russia and the coalition forces.

Australia suspended its airstrikes as part of the US-led coalition as those tensions mounted.

There are six Australian aircraft serving with the coalition, which has been leading dozens of US allies in Syria since 2014 in a declared mission to hit Daesh.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The coalition been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

Russia has been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign in Syria on a request from Damascus.

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