US aircraft downs pro-Syrian regime drone southeast Syria

2017/06/20 | 19:15

(Iraq News)- ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US military says that it has downed an armed pro-Syrian regime drone that was nearing coalition partnered forces in At Tanf in southeastern Syria near the Iraqi-Syrian border, the second such incident in less than two weeks in the area, and only three days after the US downed a Syrian warplane near Raqqa, raising tensions between the US and Russian militaries.

The US Central Command stated that the armed pro-Syrian regime Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was getting close to anti-ISIS Syrian partnered forces on Tuesday.

The drone is an Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the statement explained.

“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,” the statement continued.

It said the Coalition forces were manning an outpost northeast of At Tanf where it provides training and advice to its partnered forces against the ISIS group.

It added that a June 8 incident occurred in the same area where another armed pro-regime drone dropped ammunition near Coalition forces before it was shot down.

The coalition also issued a warning to the pro-regime forces.

It said it does not tolerate what it described as “the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces” against the coalition forces and its partners in Syria.

It added the warning has been communicated through the de-confliction channels with Russia and also in public.

The coalition reiterated that it remains committed to fighting ISIS in Syria, and that it does not seek to fight Syrian, Russian, or forces partnered with them.

“But will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat,” the statement said.

On Sunday, the US shot down a Syrian plane that had dropped bombs near its ground-partnered Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) south of Tabqa about two hours after SDF fighters were wounded in an earlier attack by pro-Syrian regime forces in Ja’Din.

The SDF were driven from the town during the attack, the coalition announced in a statement on Sunday.

After the US shot down a Syrian regime plane accused of bombing SDF near Tabqa on Sunday, the SDF threatened to retaliate against Syrian regime forces if attacks on them continue and Russia has announced it will track and target any airborne vehicles that pass west of the Euphrates.

The US has about 1,000 military personnel in northern Syria, where it has been supplying and supporting partnered forces in their fight in the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa.

The Syrian military said that their plane was carrying out a combat mission against ISIS when it was shot down.

In a statement, the Syrian military described the downing of its plane as an act of “blatant aggression” on the part of the United States and accused the US of coordinating with ISIS.

Syria’s ally Russia issued a warning on Monday, accusing the US of military aggression against Syria “carried out under the cover of ‘fight against terrorism.’”

The Russian Defence Ministry announced that, as of Monday, it had ceased cooperation with the US through its de-confliction channel established with the aim of preventing incidents in the busy skies over Syria.

The Defence Ministry stated that it will now “track and target” any airborne vehicle that enters its areas of operations in Syria.

Tensions between regime forces and the coalition in At Tanf are high after several incidents in recent weeks.

On June 8, the US shot down a pro-regime drone after it fired on coalition forces, according to a coalition statement.

On June 6, the coalition “destroyed” pro-Syrian regime forces who had advanced beyond a de-confliction zone near At Tanf.

This followed a strike on pro-regime forces on May 18 on the same grounds, according to the coalition.


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