MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. Provocations by the US-led coalition forces encourage terrorists to step up their activity in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday.
"Provocations by the coalition forces led by the United States contribute to the growing activity of terrorist organizations in Syria," Shoigu noted in a telephone conference at the Russian Defense Ministry.
After American aviation shot down a Syrian aircraft in the Raqqa province earlier this month, Russia’s Defense Ministry halted contacts with its US counterparts as part of the Memorandum on Preventing Air Incidents and Ensuring Flight Safety, he noted.
On June 18, an American F-18A fighter jet (from the coalition) fired an air-to-air missile into a Syrian Su-22 which had been providing air support for government troops to advance on the positions of the Islamic State (IS, a terror organization outlawed in Russia) near al-Rasafeh, 40 km south-west of Raqqa. The pilot ejected from the aircraft over the area occupied by terrorists and his fate remains unknown. The next day Russia’s Defense Ministry halted cooperation with the US side as part of the Memorandum.