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US F-16 fighter jet takes down armed Turkish drone over Syria

F-16 Misawa
Photo: US Air Force

The Pentagon announced on Thursday that the United States downed an armed Turkish drone in close proximity to its troops in Syria, marking the first instance of Washington intercepting an aircraft from its NATO ally.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, referred to it as an “unfortunate occurrence” and explained that US troops were compelled to seek refuge in bunkers as Turkey conducted airstrikes in close proximity.

Both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the newly appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. CQ Brown, promptly engaged with their Turkish counterparts following the incident, underscoring the significance of their relationship with Turkey while emphasizing the necessity of preventing similar events in the future to safeguard US personnel.

Ryder clarified that the decision to intercept an armed drone from an ally stemmed from careful consideration and the inherent right of self-defense in order to take necessary measures to protect US forces. He further emphasized, “We have no indication that Turkey was deliberately targeting US forces.”

A Turkish defense ministry official stated that the downed drone did not pertain to the Turkish armed forces, though they did not disclose its ownership.

Reportedly, a Turkish security source revealed that Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency conducted strikes in Syria targeting Kurdish militant objectives in response to a recent bomb attack in Ankara over the past weekend.