On Wednesday, the U.S. military announced that it had shot down an Iranian-manufactured drone that was surveying a patrol base in Syria that houses American troops. According to a statement by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down on February 14th at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time as it flew over the base. Jeremy Binnie, a senior analyst at IHS Janes, an intelligence company that specializes in military and aerospace, told Stripes that the UAV appeared to be a short-range aircraft hand-launched by forces near the patrol base.
CENTCOM did not reveal who was operating the aircraft, and no group immediately claimed responsibility for flying the drone in northeastern Syria. Iran-backed militia and sleeper cells of the ISIS terrorist group are based nearby.
The shootdown comes as the United States has put new trade restrictions on multiple Iranian entities, claiming the firms are producing and exporting weapons and aerial drones to Russia and Middle Eastern countries. In February, CENTCOM said in a statement that more than 3,000 assault rifles, 578,000 rounds of ammunition, and 23 advanced anti-tank guided missiles were seized by the U.S. Navy in cooperation with international naval partners as the weaponry was headed to Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels from Iran. Arms sales and transfers to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law.