US shoots down drone close to Iraqi-Syrian border

Marsha Scott
June 25, 2017

The drone was thought to be armed and threatening US-led coalition troops on the ground, officials said. He is acting to protect his assets.

A U.S. F-15 fighter aircraft shot down an Iranian-made drone over southern Syria on Tuesday, the Defense Department said, marking the fifth time the US has attacked pro-Syrian government assets within a month.

In Syria's tangled conflict, Washington backs a coalition of rebel forces fighting both President Assad and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. Russian Federation said it will now treat any aircraft or drones as threats if they operate in any areas west of Euphrates.

The shooting down of a Syrian warplane near the central Syrian city of Raqqa, where US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces are deployed to help capture the city from Daesh gangs, threatens to escalate tensions over Syria between Moscow and Washington.

While the network of airfields Erdogan refers to is unlikely to become a sufficient substitute for America's use of Turkey's Incirlik airbase, a major site which can host many strike aircraft, they do show how deeply invested the Americans are in helping their allies on the ground defeat IS.

"I can tell you it was an Iranian-made drone", Davis said, declining to speculate on who was operating it.

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The Sunday downing of the Syrian warplane prompted Russian Federation to issue a threat against American airborne assets over Syrian airspace and track all coalition flights west of the Euphrates River. It stopped short of saying it would shoot them down.

Russian Federation also said it was halting communications with the United States aimed at preventing such incidents. It said government helicopters dropped 55 barrel bombs on Daraa while warplanes carried out about 20 airstrikes. Western analysts have expressed worry that control over the border is a strategically important goal for Syria and allied Iran, which seeks to secure a land corridor connecting it to its allies in Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. To achieve that, the administration may need to raise the military or economic pressures on Iran, Russia and the Syrian government while pressing for negotiations on a new Syrian political order.

As it tries to craft a Syria strategy, the Trump administration is divided between those who consider Islamic State the primary enemy and some officials who think the war in Syria is part of an existential struggle between the United States and its Gulf allies on the one hand and Iran on the other, said a third U.S. official, who has participated in government deliberations on Syria.

Israeli security officials said Monday they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities.

Since the downing of the Syrian jet, Russian Federation has threatened to target U.S. and US-led coalition jets flying over Syria west of the Euphrates river. "Australian defence force personnel are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course", he said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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