Pro-Syrian regime drone shot down by US fighter jet
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — An armed pro-Syrian regime drone was shot down late Monday night by a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet after the drone was detected approaching U.S. military forces in southeastern Syria.
It is the second downing of a pro-regime drone in the area and comes amid heightened tensions in the region following the U.S. shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet.
“The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces,” according to a statement issued by Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS.
“The Coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS,” said the statement. “This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8.”
The armed drone was determined to be a threat and was shot down by a U.S. Air Force F-15E after the drone “continued to advance on the Coalition position without diverting its course it was shot down.”
The statement emphasized that the coalition “has made it clear to all parties publically and through the de-confliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.”
The drone shoot down comes amid heightened tensions in Syria following the shoot down on Sunday of a Syrian fighter jet that had dropped bombs on local forces backed by the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.
That incident led Russia’s defense ministry to declare that it would track as targets any American or coalition aircraft that flew west of the Euphrates River.
In light of that the coalition announced that it would re-position its aircraft flying over Syria as a prudent measure.
Last week, another Iranian-made drone flown by pro-regime forces was shot down after it dropped munitions close to U.S. and partner forces. The bomb landed a few hundred yards away and did not explode but the action was deemed a threat and the drone was shot down.
Tensions have escalated in the At Tanf area as an Iranian-backed militia force has pushed into a deconfliction zone that surrounds the At Tanf garrison where training conducted. The U.S. has conducted three airstrikes over the past month against those forces as they entered the deconfliction zone and moved towards At Tanf.
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