Australia to Resume Airstrikes in Syria

A U.S. F-15 fighter aircraft shot down an Iranian-made drone over southern Syria on Tuesday, a US defense official said, marking the second time in just as many days that the USA military has taken a pro-Syrian government aircraft out of the sky.

A USA warplane on Tuesday shot down an armed drone linked to Syrian regime forces, the latest in a series of clashes between US -backed forces and the regime of Bashar Assad that risks drawing American forces deeper into the conflict.

The U.S. -led coalition 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 been backing a mainly Kurdish alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

"They saw the Su-22 approaching", Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Tuesday.

Legality aside, these events have made an already volatile situation worse, putting the U.S. right up to the precipice of a disastrous situation with Russian Federation or Iran that could turn the Syrian civil war from a proxy conflict into a direct one. The drone was shot down shortly after midnight local time, the statement said.

It said the shooting-down was "collective self-defence" and the coalition had contacted Russian counterparts by telephone via an established "de-confliction line to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing". "We continue to operate, making some adjustments for prudent measures", he said.

In recent weeks, US-led coalition's warplanes struck pro-Assad government forces to prevent them advancing from the Al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria at a spot where the country's borders meet Iraq and Jordan. Irans Revolutionary Guard described the strike as revenge for Islamic State attacks on Tehran earlier this month that killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 50.

U.S. intelligence analysts quickly concluded that Iran fired the missiles mostly in retaliation for a pair of Islamic State attacks earlier this month on Iran's parliament building and the tomb of the Islamic Republic's founder. The official said that coalition aircraft made a show of force and conducted a warning maneuver, and the Syrian fighter jet then aborted its trajectory and left the area.

The official said the United States pilot saw the Syrian pilot eject and saw a parachute deploy, but the USA believes the pilot would have landed in ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

USA warplanes launched three other airstrikes against the forces there.

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

The shoot-down is just the latest escalation between the United States and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

  • Leroy Wright