US F-16 shoots down Turkish Anka-S drone in Syria

WASHINGTON/ANKARA, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday shot down an armed Turkish drone that was operating near its troops in Syria, U.S. officials said, the first time Washington has brought down an aircraft of NATO ally Turkey. A Turkish defense ministry official said the drone shot down by the U.S.-led coalition did not belong to the Turkish armed forces but did not say whose property it was. Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency carried out strikes in Syria against Kurdish militant targets after a bomb attack in Ankara last weekend, a Turkish security source said on Thursday.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said an F-16 shot down the Turkish drone after the United States called Turkish military officials multiple times to warn them they were operating close to U.S. ground forces. The officials said the Turkish drone was believed to be armed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a local security source said the U.S.-led coalition had shot down a Turkish drone near a base in northeastern Syria. The incident comes at a delicate moment for U.S.-Turkish relations, with the United States hoping Turkey will ratify NATO membership for Sweden.

While the United States has not shot down a Turkish aircraft before, tensions have flared and there have been close calls. In 2019, U.S. troops in northern Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions.

U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces said Turkish attacks had killed eight people in an escalation prompted by the bomb attack in Ankara by Kurdish militants. U.S. support for Kurdish forces in northern Syria has long caused tension with Turkey, which views them as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). That group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in Ankara near government buildings.

On Wednesday, Turkey said the two attackers had come from Syria. The bombing killed both attackers and wounded two police officers. The Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led force backed by the United States, denied that the bombers had passed through its territory.

On Thursday, a Turkish defense ministry official said a ground operation into Syria was one option that Turkey could consider. Turkey has mounted several previous incursions into northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish YPG group. “Our only goal is to eliminate the terrorist organizations that pose a threat to Turkey. A ground operation is one of the options to eliminate this threat, but it is not the only option for us,” the official said.

Comment: A delicate time indeed. Washington will soft sell the incident and it appears Ankara will as well… at least for public consumption. But we want Ankara to acquiesce to Swedish entry into NATO and Ankara wants back into the F-35 program. Moscow wants neither. We’ll see how it plays out.


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8 Responses to US F-16 shoots down Turkish Anka-S drone in Syria

  1. F&L says:

    No one respects us anymore TTG.

    Take a trip down memory lane with us now to learn how we are to be addressed:

    Incident in Judea – The Master and Margarita

  2. Gordon Reed says:

    The reasons we give for our troops occupying one third of Syria are specious, isis remnants there would be wiped out in no time by the Syrians and the Iranians and Russians. This is another regime change operation that is strangling the Syrian nation at the behest of the Israelis and could be another shooting war with Russia, we need to withdraw before it turns into the book “Alas Babylon”

    • TTG says:

      Gordon Reed,

      The Syrians, Iranians and Russians are still trying to rid Idlib of the jihadis and the Turks.

      • Gordon reed says:

        Idlib is a small enclave of radical Islamists and others who were given fee passage there and are protected by the Turks and probably the US for leveage against Assad. They could be wiped out but with much collateral damage like Assads father did in Hama but that would be counterproductive. Correct me if I am wrong

        • TTG says:

          Gordon reed,

          That tiny enclave includes the northwest corner of Syria. It’s more than just the city of Idlib. The R+5 tried to take it from the jihadis for years. If the Turks didn’t get in their way, they might have done so.

  3. d74 says:

    At last, a warning to Ankara’s vizier that he can’t get away with everything.

  4. leith says:

    The al-Qaeda headchoppers (HTS) of Idlib Province just attacked a graduation ceremony at Homs military academy with (multiple?) drones. Killed at least 89, other reports say 100+ and wounded several hundred if reports are to be believed. Mostly young graduating cadets but also some visiting brass including a general and some civilians. That academy is where Bashar, and his father and brother went. Also Suhail Al Hassan, Tiger Force Commander, is an alumni. But no claims of responsibility yet so perhaps it was ISIS or other whackos? Turkish support? Izzies? But Syria is blaming those in Idlib either HTS or the SNA and is massively shelling there.

    One third of Syria overwatched or directly controlled by the US??? That’s an overestimate. Probably based on three or four year old data. It’s half of that or less now. Syria’s border areas with Turkey and with Turkish occupied enclaves within Syria are mostly under joint control of the SAA & SDF or in some areas directly by the SAA with no SDF involvement. It’s been that way since 2020.

    ISIS is mostly gone or in deep hibernation within areas controlled by the SDF. No need for the SAA to search for ISIS in SDF or MaT areas. Assad has enough on his plate in Idlib. He has to clear out the HTS, SNA and other headchoppers there.

  5. Fred says:

    Twenty-four hours later Hamas is attacking Israel.

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