Video of burnt wreckage appeared on the Syrian state television network SANA. U.S. officials confirmed that they had lost a drone over Syria but did not say whether the military of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had shot it down.
A U.S. defense official told AFP that military controllers had lost contact with an MQ-1 Predator drone in northwest Syria.
“At this time, we have no information to corroborate press reports that the aircraft was shot down,” the official said. “We are looking into the incident and will provide more details when available.”
Syrian sources told reporters that a Syrian air-defense system brought down the drone with a rocket.
“As soon as it entered Syrian air space, we considered it to be gathering security and military information on Syria’s territory,” a government source told the news outlet. “The aircraft entered areas where [ISIS] is not present.”
The coastal city of Latakia, where the drone was apparently shot down, is a stronghold of the Assad regime far from the known positions of Islamic State forces.
If the footage is genuine, it marks the first time that Assad’s forces have shot down an American drone since the U.S. launched an anti-ISIS campaign there about six months ago.
Photo via David Smith/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)