US warplane 'shoots down' armed drone in Syria

An American F-15 jet shot down a pro-regime drone near a base near the Jordanian border, coalition spokesman says.

    US warplane 'shoots down' armed drone in Syria
    The F-15 jet shot down the pro-regime drone after it fired at coalition forces, according to a spokesman for the coalition [File: Reuters]

    An American F-15 warplane has shot down a pro-government drone in Syria after it fired at coalition forces, officials said, marking an escalation of tensions in the war-torn country's south.

    No one was hurt in Thursday's incident near the coalition's At-Tanaf garrison close to the Jordan border, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), told Pentagon reporters.

    The drone "was armed and still had weapons on it when it was fired upon by US forces from an aircraft", said Dillon.

    Although the weapon deployed by the drone hit only dirt, the action was "clearly meant" as an attack, added Dillon.

    READ MORE: Rebels launch major offensive to capture ISIL-held Raqqa

    Dillon said it was not immediately clear who owned the drone.

    "Regardless of what kind of drone it was, it fired upon our coalition forces, and therefore showed hostile intent, and it was perceived as a threat," he said.

    At-Tanaf, on the key highway connecting Syria's capital Damascus with Baghdad, capital of Iraq, has seen a surge of Iran-backed troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Coalition forces use the area - just northeast of the Jordanian border - as a training and staging area for attacks against ISIL fighters.

    It was the first time since 2009 that the US Air Force shot down another aircraft, the Air Force said.

    The shooting down of the drone came after another incident earlier on Thursday in which coalition forces struck "technical vehicles" advancing towards At-Tanaf and threatening coalition and partner forces, US Central Command said in a statement.

    It was the third time the coalition has struck pro-regime forces near At-Tanaf in less than a month. On Tuesday, coalition forces "destroyed" a pro-regime unit that was moving into the area with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons and armed technical vehicles, the coalition said.

    Last month, coalition planes struck a convoy that had apparently been headed towards At-Tanaf.

    Syria: Aid agencies struggle amid battle for ISIL's last stronghold

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.