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US shoots down another Iranian UAV over Syria
Earlier today, the US military shot down its second unmanned areal vehicle over Syria in the past two weeks. US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the Iranian-made drone was shot down after it "displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces."
CENTCOM announced that a US F-15 Strike Eagle shot down the Shaheed-129 UAV in the early morning near At Tanf, where Coalition forces are training Syrian militias to battle the Islamic State.
"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," or Islamic State, according to CENTCOM.
"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," CENTCOM continued.
The US shot down another Iranian UAV near At Tanf on June 8 after it dropped a bomb on US-backed militias operating in the area. Prior to that shoot down, US aircraft struck pro-Syrian regime forces as they advanced on At Tanf. The US military has also targeted pro-Syrian regime militias near At Tanf two other times since mid-May.
US support of anti-Islamic State militias such as the ones in At Tanf and the Syrian Democratic Forces has increasingly put it into direct conflict with Syria and its allies Russia, Iran, and Shiite militias. On June 18, A US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter-bomber after it attacked Syrian Democratic Forces south of the town of Tabqa. The incident cause Russia to suspend the de-confliction hotline established with the US to prevent the two countries from accidentally targeting each others' aircraft. Russia's Ministry of Defense said that it would now treat US aircraft as hostile targets.
As in past press releases which announced engagement with pro-Syrian government forces, the US military said that it "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 US military said that it will continue to shoot down "pro-regime aircraft" if they persist to pose a threat to coalition and allied militias.
[Source: By Bill Roggio, Fdd's Long War Journal, NJ, 20Jun17]
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