Coalition shoots down Iran-made drone in Syria

The Shahed-129 UAV was shot down by the US Strike Eagle about 12:30 am on Tuesday morning after it advanced on Coalition forces and showed intent hostile. "When the armed [drone] continued to advance on the coalition position without diverting its course, it was shot down", according to a Pentagon statement released from Operation Inherent Resolve.

The coalition statement said the location was close to where another "pro-regime" drone - which intelligence sources had also identified as Iranian - was shot down on June 8 after dropping bombs near coalition forces.

The US has recently ramped up military support for allied groups in Syria in an effort drive the so-called Islamic State out of the city of Raqqa, considered to be the group's last stronghold in the country.

"The coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat", the group said.

That move elicited a round of threats from Russia's defense ministry, which indicated it could shoot down the next US jet flying west of the Euphrates River, and raised fresh concerns over the expanded nature of USA involvement in Syria's protracted six year war.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has announced that it is suspending flights in Syria as a precaution.

"ADF operations in Iraq will continue as part of the coalition", it added. Such a stance inevitably will lead the U.S. into more conflict with the Assad regime and with Russian Federation. "We've clearly showed we are able to do that".

Tuesday's encounter is the latest development in what's become an increasingly hostile standoff between the USA military and the various forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fight to stay in power.

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.

Just before the shooting down of the Syrian bomber, U.S. officials say there was a movement of regime ground troops with tanks and artillery towards two towns near Raqqa that were held by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Australian aircraft will continue to fly missions in Iraq.

In addition to downing the Syrian jet near Raqqa, the USA has also fired on Syrian government forces in the east on three occasions in just the last month. Chris Murphy of CT warned Tuesday that the United States could be edging toward a military conflict with Iran and Russian Federation in Syria.

Meanwhile Iran's military said Sunday that it has launched several medium range ballistic missiles into eastern Syria, targeting ISIS fighters in retaliation for twin attacks that rocked Tehran on June 7.

Fighting against ISIS has been tricky business for awhile, with the United States backing the Kurdish YPG, Turkey backing its own set of rebels, and the Syrian military having its own force.

  • Leroy Wright