A US jet shot down an Iranian drone flying in southern Syria near US-backed forces, a US defense official confirms to Fox News.
This marks the second time in less than a month the US has shot down an Iranian drone. It also marks the 5th time since late May the US military has bombed pro-Syrian forces in southern Syria.
A US Air Force F-15 shot down the Iranian-made drone, according to the official.
US special operations forces have been training Syrian rebels at an outpost near al-Tanf Syria close to Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan for the past few years.
Pentagon Press Statement:
Coalition shoots down armed UAV in Syria
SOUTHWEST ASIA - A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed pro-Syrian regime Unmanned Aerial Vehicle advancing on Coalition forces in Southern Syria, June 20.
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.
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. This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8.
The F-15E intercepted the armed UAV after it was observed advancing on the Coalition position. When the armed UAV continued to advance on the Coalition position without diverting its course it was shot down.
The Coalition has made it clear to all parties publically and through the de-confliction 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.
There is a de-confliction mechanism in place with Russian forces to reduce uncertainty in this highly contested space and mitigate the chances of strategic miscalculation. 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 presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally. The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.
The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.