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UK Jet Shoots Down 'Iranian' Drone Threatening US Base In Syria

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Dec 16, 2021 - 08:40 PM

A new attack on a remote US military base in Syria is being reported Thursday. According to NBC, US and allied forces shot down a small drone amid the fresh attack. This follows a similar and larger scale attack weeks ago that involved drones and rocket fire from an unknown attacker.

US Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban told reporters on Thursday: "Two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) were tracked entering the Al-Tanf Garrison Deconfliction Zone on the evening of December 14th. As one of the UAS continued its course deeper into the Al-Tanf Deconfliction Zone, it was assessed as demonstrating hostile intent and was shot down."

US military image, via The National Interest

There was another drone in the area hovering near the Tanf garrison which reportedly departed after the first was shot down. US officials and Western allies have suspected "Iran-backed forces" in prior attacks near the Iraq-Syria border. In particular Iraq's Shia popular mobilization units have been blamed, but on the Syrian side of the border attacks could be directed by pro-Assad militias. 

Interestingly in this latest instance, a UK warplane tracked and downed the hostile drone, as NBC details:

A British Typhoon jet shot down the incoming drone, according to a US defense official, using an advanced short-range air to air missile (ASRAAM), becoming one of the first times a heat-seeking air-to-air missile was used in a combat situation to take out a threatening drone.

It marked a rare air-to-air shootdown over this part of Syria. Defense officials meanwhile told Fox News it was likely an Iran-backed operation:

There were no casualties or damage to the facilities, Urban said. Another military official told Fox that the drone was downed in an air-to-air strike and was never close enough to the base to jeopardize troops. They were believed to have been launched by Iranian-backed Shia militias in the region, a military official said.

Both Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly denounced the US presence at Tanf, calling it an illegal US military base on sovereign Syrian soil. It's also significantly south of America's other bases focused in the oil-rich northeast part of the country.

Currently the remote border base houses about 200 troops, who are ostensibly there as part of the "counter ISIS" campaign, which includes training local anti-Assad, Arab and Kurdish militias. However, ISIS has long been driven underground, and terror cells are mostly likely primarily being uprooted by Syrian and Russian forces elsewhere in the country.

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