US shoots down Turkish drone approaching US troops in Syria

Washington, (UNI) The U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday that the U.S. military shot down an armed Turkish drone as it came in proximity to U.S. forces in Syria earlier in the day.

Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said during a press briefing that U.S. commanders assessed that a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew “less than a half kilometer from U.S. forces” based in Syria.

U.S. F-16 fighters subsequently shot down the UAV “in self-defense” as the drone was deemed “a potential threat,” Ryder said, adding that the Pentagon had “no indication that Turkey was intentionally targeting U.S. forces.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler to discuss the incident.

According to a readout of the phone call provided by Ryder, Austin urged his Turkish counterpart to commit to “de-escalation in northern Syria,” stressing “the importance of maintaining strict adherence to de-confliction protocols and communication through established military-to-military channels.”

“The Secretary acknowledged Turkey’s legitimate security concerns and affirmed his commitment to close coordination between the United States and Turkey to prevent any risk to U.S. forces,” the readout said.

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