US fighter jet shoots down pro-Syrian-regime drone

The armed drone was determined to be a threat.

June 20, 2017, 10:24 AM

— -- An armed pro-Syrian-regime drone was shot down late Monday night by a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter after the drone was detected approaching U.S. military forces in southeastern Syria.

It is the second downing of a pro-regime drone in the area and comes amid heightened tensions in the region after the U.S. downing of a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday.

"The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces," according to a statement issued by Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS.

"The coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf, where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS," the statement said. "This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8."

The armed drone, which was made in Iran, was determined to be a threat, and after it "continued to advance on the coalition position without diverting its course, it was shot down," the statement added. The coalition "has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the deconfliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated."

Sunday's downing of a Syrian fighter jet led Russia's Defense Ministry to declare that it will track any U.S. or other coalition partner aircraft in Syria that fly west of the Euphrates River.

After the warning, the coalition announced that it would reposition its aircraft over Syria as a prudent measure.

Last week another Iranian-made drone flown by pro-regime forces was targeted after it dropped munitions close to U.S. and partner forces. The bomb did not explode, but the action was deemed a threat, and the drone was shot down.

Tensions have escalated in the At Tanf area as Iranian-backed militias have pushed into a deconfliction zone that surrounds the At Tanf garrison where training is conducted. The U.S. has conducted three airstrikes over the past month against those forces.

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