Reuters reported Monday that a fighter jet from the U.S.-led coalition shot down a drone over Eastern Syria. The shoot-down took place on Saturday, the report said.
“Coalition aircraft successfully engaged and defeated a UAS through air to air engagement in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village,” U.S. Army Colonel Wayne Marotto told the press.
Fox News reported Sunday that “US Air Force F-15E shot down Iranian drone over eastern Syria yesterday after flying ‘too close’ to some of the 900 US troops deployed there.”
Aviation Geek Club went into further detail about the shooting down of the drone, stating that the drone was shot down using an air-to-air missile. It also noted that U.S. aircraft had shot down two similar drones in June of 2017.
The site added that the Iranian-made drones are often supplied to militias in Iraq that are hostile to the United States, who “have menaced US facilities in Iraq over the last months.”
The U.S., of course, recently carried out its long-promised withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, U.S. troops remain in Syria as part of the anti-ISIS coalition, per Newsweek.
“Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are three completely separate issues and should not be conflated,” a senior Biden administration official told Newsweek earlier this spring. “On Syria, we do not anticipate any changes right now to the mission or the footprint… as a reminder, in Syria, we are supporting Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS… That has been quite successful, and that’s something that we’ll continue.”
The U.S. fight against ISIS has now stretched into its third presidential administration, having begun under President Obama in 2015, continued during the Trump Administration, and then into that of President Biden. The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S. air strike in October of 2019. The head of the Syrian Democratic Forces said at the time that the killing of Baghdadi was the result of more than five months of “joint intelligence work” between the SDF and U.S. forces.
At the same time, Russia has intervened in the conflict, mostly on the side of the Syrian government.
“As far as our broader U.S. strategy for Syria, we have identified key priorities: mitigating human suffering, expanding humanitarian access, sustaining the campaign against ISIS, and making clear our intolerance toward human rights abuses by the regime and other actors in the Syrian conflict,” the senior administration official speaking to Newsweek said.
Marotto, the spokesman quoted about this week’s strike, had also addressed the mission in that Newsweek article.
“The Coalition’s mission remains, at the invitation of the Government of Iraq, and in conjunction with our partner forces — the SDF, the ISF and Peshmerga — to defeat Daesh and its remnants in designated areas of Syria and Iraq and set conditions for regional stability, security and economic prosperity,” he said.
Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver