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US forces down Iranian drone in eastern Syria — report

Unmanned aircraft flew ‘too close’ to US troops stationed in the country, army spokesperson tells Reuters

Bradley fighting vehicles are parked at a US military base at an undisclosed location in northeastern Syria, on November 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Bradley fighting vehicles are parked at a US military base at an undisclosed location in northeastern Syria, on November 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

US-led forces in Syria shot down a drone, reported to be Iranian, that was deemed a threat on Saturday, an army official said Sunday.

The unmanned aircraft was shot down by a fighter jet in eastern Syria, coalition spokesperson US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto told Reuters.

“Coalition aircraft successfully engaged and defeated a UAS through air-to-air engagement in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village,” he said.

A Fox News journalist reported that the drone was Iranian, and was shot down “after flying ‘too close’ to some of the 900 US troops deployed” in eastern Syria.

Drones purported to be Iranian have been shot down by Israeli forces after being flown from the direction of Syria in the past. In 2020, Israel claimed to have a foiled a massive plot involving the use of Iranian attack drones flown from the Syrian Golan into Israel.

Several Iranian drones were apparently used in a deadly strike on an oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned company last month.

In early July, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said they repelled drone attacks near its base in the Omar oil field in the country’s east.

While Iran-backed militants have fired rockets at bases housing US forces in the past, there have been almost no direct confrontations between US troops and Iran-backed fighters in Syria or Iraq.

Iraq researcher Hamdi Malik of the Washington Institute said attacks by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and eastern Syria are a way of bolstering support for the groups.

Such incidents have escalated in Iraq and Syria, even as the US and Iran conduct delicate negotiations aimed at reviving a 2015 accord on Tehran’s nuclear activities, scuppered by the Trump administration in 2018.

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