ESCALATING

Russia Threatens to Shoot Down U.S. Aircraft in Syria

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday implied that it would shoot down U.S. aircraft in Syria if they attack Syrian government forces. Major General Igor Konashenkov said in Russia’s starkest warning yet that any U.S. airstrikes on government-held territory would be seen as a “clear threat” to Russian forces. His warning comes as U.S. officials consider using limited airstrikes to force President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to stop the siege of Aleppo. The U.S. should “carefully consider the possible consequences” of any such actions, Konashenkov said in a statement Thursday. “Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, Buk, and other air-defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year,” he said. “I remind U.S. ‘strategists’ that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 antiaircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects,” he warned.