Somewhat under the radar (pun intended) U.S. military forces have been steadily engaging enemy aircraft in the skies above Syria usually in efforts to protect ground forces. We’ve been shooting down Iranian and Syrian-regime aircraft -both drones and jets- if they are deemed a threat and fail to alter course after having been told to do so.
Yesterday another Iranian drone was taken out marking the 5th time since early May that the United States has hit pro-Assad air forces. U.S. military said the drone, a Shaheed-129, was armed and headed straight for U.S. troops near At Tanf in southeastern Syria. When it did not change course, it was shot down.
Details on the engagement from Fox News:
“A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed Iranian drone advancing on coalition forces in southern Syria on Tuesday, Fox News confirmed.
The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle about 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces. This is the second the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone in less than a month.
The coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS. This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down on June 8.
The F-15E intercepted the armed UAV after it was observed advancing on the coalition position. The armed UAV was shot down when it continued to advance on the coalition’s position without diverting its course.
The coalition has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the deconfliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.”
On a side note – how much does that last sentence sound like something the Obama Pentagon would’ve said?
This is now the second Iranian drone publicly known to have been shot down in Syria. The first was shot down on June 8 when, following command’s orders, the pilot of a U.S. F-15 blasted it out of the sky.
It’s been said that “If you’re going to make threats but aren’t willing to back them up; what good are they?” Sort of like drawing red lines, saying “Don’t cross that”, then when the other party does saying, “I didn’t draw a red line.”
Much like Obama’s complete withdrawal from Iraq gifted the world with ISIS, his weak-kneed handling of Bashar Assad pretty much assured a crisis in Syria. But now with Donald Trump and James Mattis on the job this Gary Varvel cartoon perfectly summarizes the USA’s new stance in the region. Adults are in charge and the tough talk is over. It’s time for action.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]