United States 'downs Iran-made drone' over Syria

US forces shot down an Iranian drone in southern Syria on Tuesday, the second such air-to-air encounter this month as opposing forces converge around a key American training garrison near the border with Jordan and Iraq.

The armed Shahed-129 drone was destroyed by a U.S. F-15 fighter jet around 12:30 a.m. local time.

The incident took place at about 12:30 a.m. local time northeast of the city of At-Tanf, where the US -led coalition is training and advising Syrian rebel forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), for the fight against ISIS.

The rising tensions prompted Australia to announce it was suspending its participation in air missions over Syria as part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

That move elicited a round of threats from Russia's defense ministry, which indicated it could shoot down the next USA jet flying west of the Euphrates River, and raised fresh concerns over the expanded nature of us involvement in Syria's protracted six year war. The force will continue normal operations in Iraq, reports Australia's News.com.

On Sunday, a United States fighter jet downed a Syrian government warplane for the first time in the country's conflict south of Raqa, sparking an angry reaction from regime ally Russian Federation.

The Syrian plane destroyed on Sunday, a Su-22 fighter bomber, was hit after reportedly dropping bombs near the town of Tabqa in Raqqa province.

Murphy's remarks came two days after a U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane for the first time, prompting Russian Federation to issue a threat against American airborne assets over Syrian airspace. "Given recent events, the Coalition will not allow pro-regime aircraft to threaten or approach in close proximity to Coalition and partnered forces", the coalition said.

USA officials said it remained uncertain as to who was operating the drones - Whether it was Shiite militia fighters, Syrian officers or Iranian advisers. The US military has also targeted pro-Syrian regime militias near At Tanf two other times since mid-May.

The Russian military alleged that in Sunday's incident, "the command of the coalition forces did not use the established communication channel for preventing incidents in Syrian airspace".

Both the United States and Russian Federation contend their forces are in Syria to fight ISIS.

Dillon said that as Syrian government forces move toward Abu Kamal, "if they want to fight ISIS in Abu Kamal and they have the capacity to do so, then that would be welcomed".

When asked by reporters whether the USA was notified ahead of the cruise missile strikes, Dillon said, "If they have missiles entering our airspace, that is why the deconfliction line exists".

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria.

  • Leroy Wright