WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Iran’s strike on positions of Daesh is the first time in 30 years that Tehran has launched missiles from its territory into another country, representing a dangerous escalation of the conflict at a time when Russia and the United States are at odds over the first US downing of a manned Syrian fighter jet, according to a report by the private intelligence firm Soufan Group.
"As the battlefield in Syria shrinks — and the number of competing combatants and aircraft grows — the methods used for de-confliction that have worked in the past may no longer be sufficient," the report stated on Tuesday.
The report noted that the dilemma is complicated by conflicting Russia and Syrian goals of keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in power as opposed to the US-led coalition and Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) allies’ efforts to oust Assad.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced it has suspended the deconfliction channel with the United States for flight operations in Syria over the incident. It explained that the Syrian jet was carrying out operations against Daesh some 40km from Raqqa and demanded the United States investigate the incident.
Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that any airborne objects west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian ground and air defenses as targets.
The Soufan Group said in the report that all parties — including the United States — will now have to decide if further actions will match their respective rhetoric, with the very real potential for even further escalation.