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Syrian ‘Drone’ Shot Down After Firing at Coalition Forces | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian regime forces secure a road for a military convoy in May 2017. AFP photo

Beirut, Moscow, Washington- The desert area in southern Syria witnessed on Thursday a new escalation between the Washington-led coalition and the Syrian regime and its linked militias after a US warplane shot down a pro-Assad drone that fired towards coalition forces near al-Tanf base.

Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon told reporters during a closed session from Baghdad that the drone shot down on Thursday did not cause damages to the coalition forces.

No one was hurt in the incident, Dillon said.

Earlier, a statement issued by the coalition said its forces also struck two technical vehicles advancing toward al-Tanf and threatening their base.

It is the third confrontation between coalition forces and the Syrian regime near al-Tanf since mid-May.

The first such incident took place on May 18, when the US pounded Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed militias advancing towards the crossing of al-Tanf where the borders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet.

The coalition established a “de-confliction” zone, extending 55 kilometers from al-Tanf base and in which any infiltration is considered a threat.

Also on Thursday, land coalition forces entered the Raqqa battle for the first time, after having restricted their participation in the battle to air support.

“US soldiers are now fighting on the side of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but are not stationed in front ranks,” a source at the field told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Also, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said that hundreds of coalition forces were now in Raqqa to take part in the offensive and to support SDF fighters.

Meanwhile, the Astana talks on the Syrian crisis have been postponed from June 12-13 to the 20th, an announcement made at the Kazakh capital revealed on Thursday.

Russia’s Foreign Minister said that the postponement was due to the preparation of some documents.

Separately, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura visited Moscow on Thursday and held meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to set the stage for the resumption of talks on Syria.