On Thursday, a US Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft took down an armed Turkish drone that was operating near US troops in Syria, according to the Pentagon.
This marks the first time that the US has shot down an aircraft belonging to their NATO ally, Turkey.
While a Turkish defence ministry official confirmed that the drone was not owned by the Turkish armed forces, they did not identify the owner.
During a briefing, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, spokesperson for the Pentagon, reported that at 7:30 a.m. local time in northeast Syria, U.S. forces noticed unmanned aerial systems carrying out airstrikes close to American troops. The attacks occurred within a US restricted operating zone, prompting the troops to relocate to bunkers.
Later, at 11:30 a.m., a Turkish drone entered the restricted zone and approached the American troops’ location. American commanders deemed the drone a potential threat as it came within half a kilometre of the troops. Consequently, American F-16 fighter jets shot down the drone around 11:40 a.m.
In response to a recent bomb attack in Ankara, Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency has conducted strikes on Kurdish militant targets in Syria.