One day after a pro-Assad military alliance threatened to strike US forces in Syria in retaliation for a US bombing of an Iran-backed militia operating in an allegedly “no-go zone” near a US garrison in southern Syria, near the town of At Tanf, the Syrians allegedly followed through on their promise, and according to Reuters, a pro-Syrian regime armed drone attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria, for which it was promptly shot down in what the Pentagon dubbed “a major escalation of tensions between Washington and troops supporting Damascus.”
The armed drone “hit dirt” and there were no injuries or damage done to the coalition patrol in southern Syria, but U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State, told reporters the drone meant to attack them and dismissed the possibility it had fired a warning shot.
“This clearly showed a threat even if it were a warning shot; it was something that showed a hostile intent, a hostile action and posed a threat to our forces because this drone still had munitions that were still on it,” Dillon said and added that “it was the first known time that pro-Syrian government forces had fired at coalition forces in that region.”
Dillon said the MQ-1 like armed drone was destroyed after it fired upon coalition forces carrying out a patrol outside a deconfliction zone in southern Syria. Dillon said there were no coalition casualties.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the munition landed a few hundred yards from coalition forces and it failed to explode.
How did the US know that it was a pro-Syrian drone? According to Dillon the United States had earlier in the day carried out a strike against two pro-Syrian government pick-up trucks with weapons that had moved against U.S.-backed fighters near the southern town of At Tanf.
“Unfortunately, there have been (these) incidents that have taken our focus away from fighting ISIS,” Dillon said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
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Between the renewed conflict in Syria and the potential military action in Qatar, it is a testament to just how much excess crude is stashed away in global inventories for oil not to be surging on the news (and instead it remains depressed over fears of another OPEC agreement breakdown).