A U.S. warplane destroyed an armed Syrian drone after American forces said it "displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces," the U.S. military said.
The F-15E Strike Eagle shot down the Shaheed-129 drone that was connected with Syrian government forces, the Pentagon said about the incident, according to USA Today. The incident happened near the combat outpost in At-Tanf, where U.S. and coalition advisers are supporting forces that are battling the Islamic State.
The U.S.-led international coalition said Sunday, according to CNN, that it will remain focused to fighting the Islamic State, but will defend itself.
"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, adding that "There is a de-confliction mechanism in place with Russian forces to reduce uncertainty in this highly contested space and mitigate the chances of strategic miscalculation."
The drone incident comes two days after another U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian plane that was attacking U.S.-backed forces near Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital, noted USA Today. The U.S. Navy F/A-18 warplane hit a Syrian Air Force Su-22 near the Syrian city of Taqba that had dropped bombs near Syrian opposition forces.
The Russian ministry of defense responded to Sunday's shooting by saying that it would suspend use of the de-confliction hotline with the U.S.-backed forces, reported CNN.
The broadcaster said that the Russians added that any coalition craft flying west of the Euphrates River would be tracked and "considered air targets."
Syria's long-run civil war has created a complex mix of allies. The United States is supporting some rebel groups that is opposed to President Assad, as well as fighters seeking to drive the Islamic State out of the country, noted the BBC News.
Syrian government forces and pro-government militias, which are supported by Russia and Iran, are fighting rebel groups not aligned with the government and the Islamic State, the BBC News said.
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