Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United States military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria


On several occasions in recent weeks, warplanes of the US -led coalition have also struck pro-government forces to prevent them advancing from the Al Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria at a spot where the country's borders join Iraq and Jordan.

The U.S. military's Central Command said the drone shot down Tuesday was a Shaheed 129 and appeared to have been operated by "pro-regime" forces, a term which U.S. officials previously have used to describe Hezbollah elements.

"The coalition has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the deconfliction 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", OIR said in the statement.

The incident occurred in the same vicinity as previous conflicts with pro-regime forces, near the combat outpost in At-Tanf, where a contingent of USA and coalition advisers are supporting a force to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

It also comes as the USA military announced officially that coalition forces had killed the Islamic State's top cleric, Turki al-Binali, in an air strike in Syria last month.

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The shoot down comes two days after the USA announced it shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet on Sunday after it dropped bombs near US -backed Syrian Kurdish forces advancing on ISIS's stronghold of Raqqa.

Operating in both Syria and Iraq, the force includes about 780 personnel, including 300 service members who work in its air group.

Davis said today is Day 121 of the operation to liberate West Mosul in Iraq.

The U.S. military has repeatedly warned forces fighting on Assad's side to stay away from a "deconfliction zone", agreed with Russian Federation, near a garrison used by U.S. Special Forces and U.S. -backed militia around Al-Tanf, near the border with Jordan.

The drone, downed near a combat outpost in the town of At-Tanf, was the second one shot down by USA forces in 12 days; the downing comes as Pentagon officials are working to defuse heightened tensions in southeastern Syria.

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In a statement the Russian Defence Ministry said: "All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the worldwide coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets".

In the wake of a US F/A-18 shooting down a Syrian Su-22, Russian Federation issued strong warnings to the U.S. by threatening to target United States and US-led coalition planes in Syria.

Russian Federation also said it was halting communications with the United States aimed at preventing such incidents. Coalition aircraft stopped the pro-regime forces from advancing on Ja'Din. Despite US assurances that strikes a few months ago against a Shi'ite militia in the country's southeast were a one-time deal, those strikes have grown increasingly common.

USA aircraft conducted a show of force, including strafing runs near the regime positions, "so they stopped their aggressive and threatening movements", Davis said.

The official says the drone was considered a threat, and was shot down by a U.S. F-15 fighter jet.

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"We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS", Davis said, "but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if necessary".

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