US Shoots Down Pro-Syrian Drone

Postado Junho 23, 2017

A USA jet has shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by forces backing the Syrian government in the south of the country, American officials say.

"We're going to do what we can to protect our interests", White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday, defending the decision to shoot down a Syrian SU-22 jet that had bombed coalition partnered forces near the Syrian town of Tabqah.

"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", a statement read.

It is the second time the US has downed a pro-regime drone in Syria this month, putting a focus on escalating geopolitical tensions in the area and the expanding use of American military power in the conflict.

The Iranian drone that was shot down Tuesday was outside the deconfliction area, the official said.

The U.S. military has repeatedly warned forces fighting on Assad's side to stay away from a "deconfliction zone", agreed with Russian Federation, near a garrison used by U.S. Special Forces and U.S. -backed militia around Al-Tanf, near the border with Jordan.

According to AFP, coalition troops were working in the area alongside local forces. While the Assad government said the plane was on a mission against Islamic State militants, the USA claimed it dropped bombs near U.S. forces.

The downing of the regime jet led Moscow to say it would sever a vital hotline it uses to communicate with the coalition to avoid mishaps in Syria's increasingly crowded battlespace.

Reacting to Russia's warning, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has suspended flights over Syria.

Russian Federation on Monday said that it was closing the communication line after a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet downed a Syrian government SU-22 fighter-bomber on Sunday.

Australia has conducted one of the highest number of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, according to Airwars, a Britain-based non-profit research group monitoring airstrikes. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

That move elicited a round of threats from Russia's defense ministry, which indicated it could shoot down the next US jet flying west of the Euphrates River, and raised fresh concerns over the expanded nature of USA involvement in Syria's protracted six year war.

"There's no authorization for military force that Congress has passed that gives the president the ability to take military action against the Syrian regime", said the senator, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"[Many planners are worried] that we have essentially headed down a road where further confrontation is likely, or even inevitable", Mosser says.

Sharif said the missile launch reflected Iran's "military power", though Iran has no intention of starting another war.

Later on Tuesday, the coalition issued another statement confirming the killing of the self-proclaimed Grand Mufti of ISIS, Turki al-Binali who is originally from Bahrain.

Israeli security officials said Monday that they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities. The truce was meant to be extended but now appears to have collapsed.

More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria s conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011.