U.S. fighter jet shoots down 2nd Iranian-made drone over Syria

Frederick Owens
June 22, 2017

It also comes as the USA military announced officially that coalition forces had killed the Islamic State's top cleric, Turki al-Binali, in an air strike in Syria last month. The drone was assessed to be armed and in firing range of US troops.

Tanf is the town on Syrian border with Jordan where U.S. troops are training Syrian rebels, officially described as "partner ground forces".

Australia's military said it was temporarily halting air missions over Syria, following the shooting down of a Syrian jet by United States forces.

Australia's military is suspending the airstrikes that it had been carrying out against the Islamic State as part of a US -led coalition in Syria, one day after Russian Federation criticized the USA downing of a Syrian warplane and threatened to target coalition aircraft in a wide swath of Syria.

In response, Russian Federation said its surface-to-air missile systems in Syria would track aircraft from the USA -led coalition as targets if they go west of the Euphrates River.

While both countries have called for an end to the fighting in Syria, Russia and the U.S. have also accused the other of escalating the conflict and standing in the way of peace through military and financial support.

It suspended a hotline set up to avoid clashes between U.S. and Russian aircraft in the region.

The military said Binali was killed in Mayadeen, an IS-held Syrian town near the Iraqi border. In a similar incident on 8 June, an Iranian-made drone of the same kind dropped a bomb near USA troops at the same training outpost before it was shot down by a United States plane.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the incidents could be "very dangerous" and lead to an escalation of the war. "When the armed [drone] continued to advance on the coalition position without diverting its course, it was shot down", according to a Pentagon statement released from Operation Inherent Resolve.

President Donald Trump has ordered stepped-up military operations against the Islamic State (IS) and delegated more authority to his generals, but without a comprehensive Syria strategy, his approach risks further confrontation with Syria, Iran and even Russian Federation, according to U.S. officials and analysts.

The US has recently ramped up military support for allied groups in Syria in an effort drive the so-called Islamic State out of the city of Raqqa, considered to be the group's last stronghold in the country.

He says: "We are not the initiator of any conflict and war but we do not tolerate creation of insecurity in our country".

The US has taken a series of actions over the past three months demonstrating its willingness to carry out strikes, mostly in self-defence, against Syrian government forces and their backers, including Iran.

"The deconfliction line has proven effective at mitigating strategic miscalculations and escalating tense situations, and to be clear, we prefer to keep this channel of communication open".

"The Pentagon's meddling into the Syrian army's military action has become systematic and intolerable", wrote Aleksandr Hrolenko for RIA Novosti, another media outlet owned by the Russian state.

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