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U.S. military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria

24 Juin 2017

According to Israeli sources, Iran's barrage of missiles Sunday evening targeting Islamic State terror bases in Syria, only managed to hit one or two of its targets, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) recently fired six missiles from home soil.

Iran said they launched six Zolfaghar medium range missiles at an ISIS target in Syria 450 kilometers away, in retaliation for the recent ISIS attack in Tehran that left 17 people dead.

The complex attacks in Tehran included shootings and at least one suicide bombing at the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, south of the capital.

At the same time, Washington depends on pro-Iranian militias in Iraq in its final push against the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIL, ISIS, Daesh) group there.

Iran has been aiding the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is a key ally to the Syrian forces alongside Russian Federation and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.

The IRGC launched the missiles from western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan, home to Sunni Kurdish populations.

After Iran launched missiles into Syria, an advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, Sheikh Hussein al-Islam, said that Israel "is the main enemy" of Iran and that Israel should be anxious.

The attackers were Iranian citizens. The extremists have been trying to fortify their positions in the Syrian city in the face of a USA -led coalition onslaught on Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.

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The Guard, which is also involved in the fight against the Islamic State group in neighboring Iraq, controls Iran's missile program.

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group said the U.S. fighter jet shot down the drone "after it displayed hostile intent" while approaching a military camp near the Syria-Jordan border.

Both the administration of former President Barack Obama and Trump's have focused exclusively on defeating Islamic State, but with the militants' self-proclaimed caliphate shrinking, USA -backed and Syrian-backed forces appear to be competing for territory.

Iraqi lawmaker Abdul-Bari Zebari said his country agreed to the missile overflight after coordination with Iran, Russia and Syria.

"So far, we only posted military advisors on the ground in Syria and Iraq", he said.

Iranian-backed forces have also been trying to advance towards the base even after repeatedly being bombed by the US -led coalition.

The U.S. military has established a roughly 31-mile "deconfliction" ring around at-Tanf, warning the pro-Assad, Iranian-backed forces through a Russian deconfliction channel that movement within the zone could be considered hostile. The location where the sixth missile struck is unknown.

Russia's defense ministry says it is suspending coordination with the United States in Syria over so-called "de-confliction zones" after the Americans downed a Syrian government fighter jet.

"The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message", Gen. Ramazan Sharif of Iran's Revolutionary Guard told state television.