RAF war plane in ‘unprecedented’ engagement over Syria — Analysis
The Royal Air Force has shot down what it says was a “terrorist drone” over southern Syria. The encounter marked the first air-to-air missile engagement of the UK’s operation against Islamic State in Syria.
A Typhoon aircraft from the Royal Air Force shot down the drone Tuesday at the Al-Tanf airbase, in southern Syria. The British Ministry of Defence released a press release describing the drone as “small,”According to them, the Typhoon pilot took it down with an Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile.
It was described as a “engagement” “unprecedented” by the ministry, as it marked 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 codename given to the UK’s military campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Syria.
Operation SHADER, a major air campaign has been ongoing since 2014. British special forces have also been deployed in Syria and neighbouring countries as part of the Operation SHADER.
Although the Ministry of Defence didn’t say who launched the drone, it did state that they were responsible. “hostile”And presented to a “terrorist threat.”
Pentagon earlier reported that the drone had been shot down. Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban stated that two drones were seen in the vicinity, but one was missing.
Two months ago, Al-Tanf had been hit by a barrage rockets and drones. Reports suggested that the base had suffered severe damage. The attack was blamed by the US military at the time on Iranian-backed Shia militias.
Though IS lost almost all its military gains from 2014 to Western intervention (Syrian, Russian and Western intervention), some IS fighters are active and occasionally clash with opposition factions. One such clash reportedly took place in eastern Syria this week when Kurdish forces – allied with the West – claimed to killWith the support of coalition air force, five IS fighters were able to fight.
While the UK’s mission concerns the destruction of IS, it has no diplomatic contact with the government of President Bashar Assad, whose military is also fighting the terrorists. The UK has continued to hold Assad responsible for war crimes and other atrocities. It also works with rebel groups opposing his rule and placed sanctions on him.