U.S. aircraft shot down an armed, pro-Syrian government drone over southern Syria Thursday after it fired on coalition forces in the area.
After the drone dropped ammunition on a coalition position, aircraft proceeded to shoot it down, according to an Operation Inherent Resolve statement. The attack occurred the same day as a previous strike on pro-regime forces that entered an “established de-confliction zone” near the At-Tanf coalition garrison.
The drone was similar in size to the inconic MQ-1 Predator, according to the statement. It was carrying several weapons at the time of the strike. While it is unclear what group was operating the drone, Iran is known to have operated drones in Syria before.
The earlier strike targeted three “technical vehicles,” destroying two, according to CNN. It was the second coalition attack on pro-regime forces in less than a week.
Despite the attack, the coalition’s statement assured that its mission is to fight the Islamic State, not Syria.
“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them. The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces near Coalition and partner forces in southern Syria, however, continue to concern us and the Coalition will take appropriate measures to protect our forces,” said the statement.
U.S.-led forces have been stationed at the At-Tanf base for more than a year as part of their mission to train “vetted forces” to fight ISIS. The statement noted that the base will not be vacated until ISIS is defeated.
“As long as pro-regime forces are oriented toward Coalition and partnered forces the potential for conflict is escalated,” said the statement. The coalition urged all parties to focus on the ISIS thread.
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