US Guns Down Mystery Drone Over Syria – Daily Beast

For the second time in two weeks, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet has shot down an Iranian-made, armed drone flying in close proximity to American and coalition forces in Syria.

The F-15E fighter shot down the Shahed-129 drone—a model similar to the U.S. military’s own Predator—as it flew toward coalition forces at an outpost near At Tanf in southern Syria at 12:30 AM, local time, on June 20.

“The Shaheed-129 was displaying hostile intent,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson, said of the propeller-driven drone that U.S. forces shot down on June 20. “It had dirty wings, meaning it was loaded with ordnance,” Davis said.

Davis said while the drone is manufactured by Iran, he didn’t know who was operating it—Iran, the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad or some allied group. “We know they provide them to the regime, and other groups like Lebanese Hezbollah,” Davis said.

On June 8, an F-15 had shot down another Shahed-129 after the drone had attacked coalition advisors also in the vicinity of At Tanf.

The Shahed-129, which first flew in 2012, appeared in Syria as early as 2014. The Iran-backed, pro-regime militia group Asa’ib Ahl Al Haq said it used a Shahed-129 to strike Islamic State fighters — although experts expressed doubt about the group’s claim.

Regardless of exactly who operates the drones, Davis said their purpose is pretty clear — to attack pro-U.S. fighters around At Tanf. “This is an area where we are operating with partner forces, training them to fight ISIS,” Davis said.

There’s an informal, 55-kilometer wide zone around the training area where the Americans have warned the Russians they might have to take defensive action if hostile forces enter.  “We’re acting only in self-defense, or collective self-defense,” Davis said.

“The actions we’ve taken have not

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