A US fighter jet operating in Syrian airspace opened-fire on a Russian-made tank in an act of “self-defense” said the Pentagon Tuesday, signaling a further escalation of tensions in the region as the seven-year long civil war continues to engulf the country.
According to Business Insider, US officials confirmed the incident this week, saying the Air Force jet destroyed a Russian T-72 tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria; killing three crew members.
The nationalities of the fatalities remains unclear.
“The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers,” said US Marine Corps Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway.
“The position was within effective range of the hostile weapons systems,” he added.
JUST IN: US jet destroys Russian T-72 battle tank in E Syria in 'self-defense' Saturday after 'pro-regime forces' fired on US special ops and allied Syrian fighters near same location of last week's attack, officials say. No US or allied casualties. 3 inside tank killed.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) February 13, 2018
Despite joint pledges to work together to destroy ISIS and other terror networks, Russia and the United States find themselves on opposite sides of the ongoing conflict; with US forces equipping Syrian rebels and Russian forces supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The escalation of violence comes as Israel and Iran face-off inside Syrian airspace, with Assad’s forces shooting down an Israeli F16 fighter jet using equipment supplied by Tehran.