An Iranian-made drone was shot down by a US F-15 fighter jet in southern Syria, near At Tanf, the US-led coalition said. It is the fifth time in the past month the US has struck at forces allied with the Syrian government in the area.
An armed Shaheed-129 UAV “displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces” at 12:30 am local time on Tuesday, the coalition said in a statement. The drone was observed in the same area where another UAV was shot down on June 8.
Tanf is the town on Syrian border with Jordan where US troops are training Syrian rebels, officially described as “partner ground forces.”
The coalition “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 statement said.
On Sunday, US aircraft shot down a Syrian government jet that was bombing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) positions south of Raqqa, in eastern Syria.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has suspended flights over Syria after Russia said it halted sky incident prevention interactions with the US as of June 19, due to the coalition’s downing of a Damascus warplane.
“As a precautionary measure, Australian Defence Force (ADF) strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased,” Australia’s Department of Defense said in a statement, adding its operations in Iraq would continue as part of the coalition.
“ADF personnel are closely monitoring the air situation in Syria and a decision on the resumption of ADF air operations in Syria will be made in due course.”
“Australian Defence Force protection is regularly reviewed in response to a range of potential threats,” the Department of Defense said.
On Monday, the Russian military halted cooperation with its US counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria. The statement came a day after the coalition’s attack on a Syrian Su-22 government warplane, which was carrying out operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists 40km from Raqqa.
The US military failed to use the communication line with Russia concerning this attack, despite the fact that Russian warplanes were also on a mission in Syrian airspace at the time, the Russian Defense Ministry said.