On Tuesday, the U.S. military downed a drone in Syria believed to have been produced in Iran.
According to U.S. Central Command, the drone was shot down around 2:30 p.m. local time after being spotted flying over an oil site in the country’s northeast region, Fox News reported. The military alleges the drone was likely conducting surveillance of the area.
“US forces in Syria engaged and shot down an Iranian-manufactured UAV attempting to conduct reconnaissance of Mission Support Site Conoco, a patrol base in northeast Syria,” U.S. Central Command revealed in a statement.
Iranian drones are becoming more prominent on battlefields worldwide, including their use by Russian forces in Ukraine, as The Dallas Express recently reported.
Iran’s “kamikaze” or “suicide” drones are considered a “loitering munition,” according to the Brookings Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. This means they can remain airborne for extended periods before striking their target. The technology is more autonomous than a remotely piloted drone, allowing for less human intervention.
Iran is now considered the leading global supplier of low-cost drone technology, according to reporting by The Guardian. One such drone shot down in Ukraine last fall was found to have been fabricated with U.S.-made parts.
While announcing the discovery of the alleged Iranian drone in Syria, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price voiced broader displeasure with Iranian leadership, citing the recent crackdown on demonstrations, military ties to Moscow, and ongoing imprisonment of U.S. citizens.
“We’re sending very clear messages to the Iranian regime. … Those messages are: Stop killing your own people, stop sending UAV technology to Russia, and free those wrongfully detained American citizens,” Price said in a press briefing on February 14.
Both the U.S. and Iran are militarily active in Syria. While Tehran supports the ruling Assad government, Washington backs the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group with autonomy in northeastern Syria.
At present, roughly 900 U.S. troops remain in the country.
So far, none of the groups operating in Syria have claimed the downed drone.