BAGHDAD—An American fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone on Tuesday after it flew toward U.S.-led coalition troops in southern Syria, the latest escalation of a confrontation between the U.S. military and Syrian regime forces and their allies.
The downing of the drone came two days after a U.S. jet shot down a Syrian plane that had targeted American-backed forces on the ground, the first such incident in the six-year Syrian war. U.S. forces also shot down another drone over Syria earlier this month, and have launched three airstrikes in recent weeks on Iranian-backed fighters who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The encounters have ratcheted up tensions with the Syrian regime’s two most important military backers—Russia and Iran—just as the American-led coalition is intensifying efforts to push Islamic State from its last strongholds in the east of the country, Raqqa and oil-rich Deir Ezzour province.
In Tuesday’s clash, the American jet intercepted the drone before firing on it, the coalition said. The drone was flying toward coalition troops who are working with forces fighting Islamic State, it added.
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