June 25, 2024

The News

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that U.S. F-16 fighters shot down an armed Turkish drone “in self defense” after it entered a U.S.-declared restricted operating zone in Syria.

This is the first time the U.S. has shot down an armed aircraft of NATO ally Turkey.

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said that Turkish drones had been conducting airstrikes in the restricted zone but that there was no indication the Turks were targeting U.S. forces. He added that the drone came within less than a kilometer of U.S. forces, who subsequently went into bunkers.

No troops were harmed during the incident, he said.

A Turkish defense ministry official said that the drone did not belong to Turkish armed forces, but did not provide details.

Reuters reported that earlier in the day, Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency struck Kurdish militant targets in Syria after a bomb attack in Ankara last weekend.

U.S Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also spoke with his Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler and the two committed to closely coordinating in the region, Ryder said.

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