U.S. warplane blasts Syrian drone from sky

The U.S. military says it has shot down an armed, Iranian-made drone that was bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria’s southeast.In Tuesday’s incident, the US-led coalition said an F-15E Strike Eagle jet destroyed an armed Shahed-129 drone in the early hours of the morning as it neared the Al-Tanaf base along Syria’s eastern border.The U.S. -led coalition said the location was close to where another “pro-regime” drone, which intelligence sources had also identified as Iranian, was shot down on June 8 after dropping bombs near coalition forces.The incident put a spotlight on the intensifying proxy war in Syria between forces backed by Russian Federation and those supported by the United States, a conflict that has the potential to increasingly pit the two countries directly against each other in the battle over the future of Syria.Prior to shooting down the warplane, U.S. forces had struck pro-government soldiers three times in recent weeks to counter what officials said were attacks on US-backed troops in the country.This is the second the USA shot down an Iranian drone in less than a month.The U.S. action also comes two days after a U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian plane that was attacking U.S. -backed forces near Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.Russian Federation responded by warning it would track aircraft from the USA -led coalition as potential targets over Syria and suspended a hotline meant to avoid mid-air collisions. The drone shot down on June 20 was “just outside” the deconfliction zone, according to USA officials who spoke to CNN.Coalition forces are using the Al-Tanaf base by Syria’s borders with Jordan and Iraq to train anti-jihadist Syrian fighters and stage attacks against IS.The Russian Ministry of Defense called the downing of the plane “a cynical violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic” and “military aggression”.The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are now moving towards Raqqah in a bid to remove Daesh from its Syrian stronghold, are often accompanied by US special operations forces.Sharif says the missile launch reflects Iran’s “military power” though Iran has no intention of starting another war.Israeli security officials said Monday they were studying the missile strike to see what they could learn about its accuracy and capabilities.Australia confirmed that operations in Iraq would continue.More recently a US jet shot down a Syrian Air Force jet over the weekend after it struck USA -allied forces, marking one of the greatest escalations since the USA entered the Syrian conflict in 2014.The downing of the regime jet led Moscow to say it would sever a vital hotline it uses to communicate with the USA coalition to avoid mishaps in Syria’s increasingly crowded and complicated battlespace.