A British Royal Air Force fighter jet has shot down a small unmanned aircraft in Syria in what is the air force’s first air-to-air missile firing in the United Kingdom’s military campaign against the Islamic State, the UK Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
The engagement took place on Tuesday when drone activity was confirmed above the US At Tanf military base, with RAF Typhoons tasked with investigating during a patrol. The drone was downed with an Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile, despite its small size.
“A Royal Air Force Typhoon has shot down a small hostile drone in Syria which posed a threat to Coalition forces in the area. This unprecedented event was the first operational air-to-air engagement conducted by an RAF Typhoon, and also the first RAF air-to-air missile firing during Operation SHADER – the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh [IS],” the ministry said in a statement.
The armed conflict in Syria has been going on since 2011. In late 2017, IS was declared defeated in Syria and Iraq, but counterterrorism operations continue.
Earlier, the US military had shot down one of two small drones flying towards the US At Tanf Garrison outpost in southern Syria, and allegedly posing a threat to the base, media reported on Thursday.
According to NBC News, the US military on Tuesday spotted two small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) approaching the US At Tanf Garrison outpost and assessed them as showing hostile intent. Military shot down one of the drones, while the second UAS changed its course and left the area. It is unknown whether the drones were carrying explosives or not.
“As one of the UAS continued its course deeper into the At Tanf Deconfliction Zone, it was assessed as demonstrating hostile intent and was shot down,” the US Central Command Spokesman, Bill Urban, said as quoted by the NBC News.
On October 21, the same US outpost was attacked with drones carrying explosives. The United States reported no casualties, but the base’s facilities were heavily damaged. The US accuses Iran or Iranian-backed groups of being responsible for the attacks.
After the first attack, the mayor of Iraqi city Ar-Rutbah close to the outpost told Sputnik that no signs of the attack were spotted.
The At Tanf Garrison outpost is a US military base within the territory controlled by the Syrian opposition close to borders with Iraq and Jordan. The US troops train Syrian opposition to fight the Islamic State at the base.
- Via Sputnik News Agency. Views Personal
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