An American F-15E fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone on Tuesday over southeast Syria that was flying toward American-backed Syrian fighters and their advisers, Pentagon officials said. The episode was a fresh indication that the air war between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the American military is likely to continue, and perhaps even escalate, even as the United States has sought to keep its focus on defeating the Islamic State militants operating in Syria and Iraq.
Long-running tensions between the United States and Russia erupted publicly on Monday as Moscow condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane and threatened to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies west of the Euphrates. The Russians also said they had suspended their use of a hotline that the American and Russian militaries used to avoid collisions of their aircraft in Syrian airspace.
President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria on Thursday night in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians. A senior military official said that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had hit Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets and other infrastructure but did not target anything that may have had chemical weapons.
Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile that American officials say violates a landmark arms control treaty, posing a major test for President Trump as his administration is facing a crisis over its ties to Moscow.