A U.S. F-15E fighter shot down a pro-Syria regime drone near At Tanf, Syria, on Monday – the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month.
The U.S.-led coalition released a statement said the drone, an Iranian-made Shahed 129, was shot down “after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces” that “were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf where they are training and advising partner forces in the fight against ISIS.”
Monday’s incident comes as amid heightened tensions and a day after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane after it dropped bombs near U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
That incident led Russia to announce that it was ending its cooperation with the U.S. Military in the fight against ISIS. Russian officials said they would suspend the de-confliction hotline with the coalition – which was established to help prevent accidents in the skies above Syria.
The Russian defense ministry said it would treat any coalition aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River would be tracked and “considered air targets.”
A Tuesday statement from the coalition reinforced that coalition forces are not trying to fight the Assad Regime or Russian forces, but will defend themselves:
“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. 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 statement also served as a warning to pro-regime aircraft:
“Given recent events, the coalition will not allow pro-regime aircraft to threaten or approach in close proximity to coalition and partnered forces.”