US Warplane Shoots Down Armed Drone in Syria

NY [U.S.], June 20: A U.S. F-15 fighter jet shot down an armed Iranian drone advancing on coalition forces in southern Syria near At Tanf, the US-led coalition said on Tuesday.

In Tuesday´s incident, the US-led coalition said an F-15E Strike Eagle jet destroyed an armed Shahed-129 drone in the early hours of the morning as it neared the Al-Tanaf base along Syria´s eastern border.

The drone was shot down after it dropped bombs, aimed only at dirt, but in an area close enough to coalition forces whereby it was considered a threat.

Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a US warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked USA -backed fighters in southern Syria.

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.

The US-led coalition conducted what the Pentagon said was a "show of force" - a reported buzzing of the pro-government troops by jets - to stop the attack and then called the Syrian government's ally, Russia, to try to "de-escalate the situation and stop the firing".

A US-led coalition fighter jet has shot down a Syrian military plane in Raqqa province, the United States has confirmed.

"In an email to NPR, Australia's Department of Defense says it will make a decision on rejoining the U.S-led air campaign in due course", NPR's Alison Meuse reports from Beirut. USA officials said the plane was armed and flying "erratically".

While Russia has demanded an accounting of the weekend incident, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov asserted on June 20 that the presence of US forces in Syria was "absolutely illegal".

It said the latest contribution brings the total funding from the EU Trust Fund for UNICEF's work on the Syria crisis response to almost €200 million ($223 millions).

Elsewhere, government air and artillery bombardments hit rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Deraa after a two-day ceasefire expired, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Russian defence ministry went on to say in a statement that all aircraft belonging to the us -led coalition operating west of the Euphrates "will be tracked by the Russian (surface-to-air missile) systems as targets".

The drone, which was shot down by a U.S. F-15 fighter jet, was Iranian-made and "assessed to be a threat", according to the CNN.

The push by the Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad's troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years. "We continue to operate, making some adjustments for prudent measures", Davis said on June 20.

Russia's Monday decision to suspend a memorandum of cooperation with the US-led coalition in retaliation after a U.S. jet shot down a Syrian Army plane has rattled some USA allies, who fear escalating tensions between Russian Federation and the coalition.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Minsitry reported that the worldwide coalition's aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles west of the Euphrates in Syria would be tracked by Russia's air defenses after a Syrian fighter had been shot down by a USA warplane.

It has six fighter jets based in the United Arab Emirates that strike targets in Syria and Iraq.

A Syrian military official in Damascus said the truce was not extended.

In another first, Iran fired ballistic missiles at Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, in the province of Deir el-Zour, later on Sunday.

In September, Australia said it would widen the scope of targets in the air war against ISIL by allowing its pilots to strike support and logistics resources in Iraq and Syria.

The US plane was flying in global airspace when it was intercepted by the Russian jet, which was armed, an Air Force spokesperson told Business Insider.

  • Leroy Wright