U.S. jet shoots down 'Iranian drone' in Syria

Claudine Rigal
Juin 21, 2017

After following Tuesday's incident, the USA military has destroyed the pro-Syrian forces fifth time in the southern Syria since late May.

The US-led anti-ISIL coalition said an F-15E Strike Eagle jet destroyed the Shaheed-129 drone around 12.30am, north-east of the Al Tanaf garrison which is close to the Jordanian border.

It is the second downing of a pro-regime drone in the area and comes amid heightened tensions in the region following the US shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet.

Earlier this month, the U.S. shot down another Shahed 129 drone, also operated by pro-government forces.

In response, the U.S. Central Command issued its own statement, saying the Syrian aircraft was shot down "in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces".

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the incident had yet to be made public, said that the drone was in the same area where US aircraft had shot down the same type of unmanned aircraft - an Iranian Shahed 129 - earlier this month.

USA -led coalition forces had already set off a fresh round of controversy Sunday, shooting down a Syrian warplane that reportedly bombed nearby Syrian Democratic Forces, who are allied with the U.S.in their fight against ISIS.

Compounding the problem, Russian Federation pledged to treat all US aircraft in Syria west of the Euphrates river as "targets" that would be tracked by their aerial defense systems deployed inside the country.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it viewed the incident as America's "deliberate failure to make good on its commitments" in deconfliction zones, warning it would, "view as targets any flying objects over Syria in the areas of the country where its air forces operate".

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said it was Iranian-made and had "dirty wings", meaning it was armed.

Australia has deployed about 780 military personnel as part of the US-led coalition fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) in both Iraq and Syria.

Russian Federation also denied the United States had used a communications channel before the Su-22 fighter bomber was shot down, as claimed by the USA military.

The incident came as Russian Federation once again protested against repeated US actions against forces allied with Syria and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the incidents could be "very dangerous" and cause an escalation of the war.

The competition between the Syrian army and the militias and US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels has stepped up in the Badia desert that stretches to the Iraqi border after IS abandoned large swathes of territory as it defends Raqqa and Deir Zor.

When the Syrian air force bombed SDF positions Sunday, the USA came to the aid of its partners on the ground - and the Syrian jet was downed.

The RAAF has put a halt to air operations over Syria amid rising tensions after the US-led coalition clashed with forces backing the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad over the weekend.

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