USA jet shoots down Iranian drone over Syria

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Vadim Savitsky
Russian warships fired missiles into Syria on Friday according to reports

This was underscored by reports on Tuesday that an armed Russian fighter jet buzzed within five feet of a US Air Force reconnaissance plane in the Baltic Sea, which happened after US planes shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday.

The U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle shot down the Iranian-made drone as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near At Tanf, along the Syrian border with Iraq, where the U.S.is training local fighters to fight the Islamic State.

The U.S. -led coalition said the location was close to where another "pro-regime" drone, which intelligence sources had also identified as Iranian, was shot down on June 8 after dropping bombs near coalition forces.

The rising tensions prompted Australia to announce it was suspending its participation in air missions over Syria as part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

On Sunday, a USA fighter jet downed a Syrian government warplane for the first time in the country s conflict south of Raqa, sparking an angry reaction from regime ally Russian Federation.

"I'm confident that we are still communicating between our operations center and the Russia federation operations center - and I'm also confident that our forces have the capability to take care of themselves", Dunford said.

The U.S. military's Central Command said the drone shot down Tuesday was a Shaheed 129 and appeared to have been operated by "pro-regime" forces, a term that U.S. officials previously have used to describe Hezbollah elements.

The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating Islamic State militants in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants' control for nearly three years. The Syrian Armed Forces said in a statement that the pilot was missing.

Sharif said the missile launch reflected Iran's "military power", though Iran has no intention of starting another war.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab militants attack Mogadishu restaurant, take hostages
Mohamed Hussein at first said gunmen were fighting their way inside the restaurant and that a hostage situation was underway. Police, cited by AP, said that following the blast, the gunmen got into the Pizza House , taking dozens of visitors hostage.

Elsewhere, the USA military confirmed Tuesday that top ISIS cleric Turki al-Binali was killed in a coalition airstrike May 31 in Mayadeen, Syria.

Activists and Islamic State supporters reported his death at the time, but Tuesday's statement from Central Command was the first US confirmation.

Regime air and artillery bombardments hit rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Daraa, on the border with Jordan, on Tuesday after a two-day ceasefire expired, witnesses, rebels and the army said.

"We have never had a coherent Syrian strategy", said one USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Handel is the latest in a line of Republicans who have represented the district since 1979, beginning with Newt Gingrich, who would become House speaker.

The sources said that Russian Federation played the role of a mediator between Washington and each of Tehran and Damascus to demarcate the conflict lines near the Iraqi border, which led to the dismantling of al-Zakaf military base north al-Tanf camp. "The regime made the truce and then violated it". He was rescued by Syrian troops. It said government helicopters dropped 55 barrel bombs on Daraa while warplanes carried out about 20 airstrikes. The conflict quickly descended into a civil war, which has since left at least 400,000 people dead.

CNN has learned new details of Sunday's rare air-to-air encounter between a Syrian Su-22 fighter and two US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets in the skies over Syria, the first time a US warplane has downed a manned aircraft since 1999.

A map showing aerial confrontations in Syria.

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