Home Air MQ-9s harassed by Russian drones eliminate top Islamic State leader in Sirya

MQ-9s harassed by Russian drones eliminate top Islamic State leader in Sirya

An MQ-9 Reaper fires an AGM-114 Hellfire missile Photo: US Air Force

An ISIS leader in eastern Syria, Usamah al-Muhajir, was killed as a result of a strike conducted by US Central Command on July 7.

The recent news marks the culmination of three consecutive days of tense encounters, as the US military strongly condemned the actions of Russian fighter pilots who were accused of “harassing” Reaper drones engaged in anti-terrorism operations over Syria.

US Central Command revealed on July 9 that the trio of MQ-9 Reaper drones, which were subjected to “harassment” by Russian fighter jets over Syria, were the very drones responsible for executing an airstrike that resulted in the demise of a top leader from the Islamic State group.

Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, two separate incidents occurred, prompting criticism from the US Air Forces Central. Additionally, on Friday, there were further interactions between Russian fighters and US drones, with US Air Forces Central reporting 18 instances of unprofessional close passes by Russian aircraft, forcing the MQ-9s to take evasive actions to prevent unsafe situations.

“We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of US Central Command. “ISIS remains a threat, not only to the region but well beyond.”

“There are no indications that any civilians were killed in this strike and the coalition is assessing reports of a civilian injury,” stated the CENTCOM.

Last month, the US Air Forces published their monthly achievements in the operations against ISIS. According to the report, there were 30 partnered operations in Iraq and 7 partnered operations in Syria. No US-only operations took place in either country. In Iraq, 12 ISIS operatives were killed, and 7 were detained. In Syria, 1 ISIS operative was killed, and 14 were detained.