Middle East Government


Eyes in the sky: Inside the hunt for Islamic State fighters in Syria

Los Angeles Times

Over the past 20 years, unmanned aircraft were primarily used to collect intelligence or to launch Hellfire missiles at specific terrorist targets after extensive surveillance -- enemy strongholds or targeted killings of suspects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere. The Air Force launched its first "danger-close" drone strikes while aiding local forces fighting Islamic State in Surt, a coastal city in Libya, last year. Drones subsequently launched more than 70% of 495 airstrikes against the militants, helping local Libyan militia fighters retake Surt by December, according to the Air Force. U.S. special operations forces face growing demands and increased risks The U.S. military is targeting Islamic State's virtual caliphate by hunting & killing its online operatives one-by-one


U.S. Navy reports another close call with Iran drone

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – An unarmed Iranian drone shadowed a U.S. aircraft carrier at night and came close enough to F-18 fighter jets to put the lives of American pilots at risk, the Navy said Tuesday, reporting the second such tense encounter within a week. Iran's military and state-run media did not immediately report the incident, which came after a similar encounter Aug. 8, in which the Navy said an Iranian drone came within 100 feet (30 meters) of an F-18 preparing to land on the Nimitz. The incidents at sea almost always involved Iran's Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force that reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Of the incidents at sea last year, the worst involved Iranian forces capturing and holding overnight 10 U.S. sailors who strayed into the Islamic Republic's territorial waters.


Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound

Al Jazeera

The Israeli security forces have started to remove metal detectors installed at entry points to al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East Jerusalem. Israel installed metal detectors and security cameras after gunmen shot dead two Israeli guards near al-Aqsa compound - Islam's third holiest site - on July 14. Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said that hundreds of Palestinians protested against the security cameras with advanced face recognition software that won't be removed. OPINION: The al-Aqsa metal detectors aren't a security measure "Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades at the protesters, and more security forces were placed at the Lions' gate of the mosque," our correspondent said.


ISIS drone factory is seized by Iraqi forces in Mosul

Daily Mail

As the battle for Mosul rages on, Iraqi forces recently discovered this ISIS factory which has been making various death machines - from aerial drones to multi-wheeled robot bombs. As the battle for Mosul rages on, Iraqi forces recently discovered this ISIS factory which has been making various small-scale death machines. Hundreds of civilians fled Mosul's Old City on Friday as Iraqi forces slowly squeeze the last pockets of Islamic State resistance, and the UN warned that the'intense and concentrated' fighting put innocent lives in even greater danger. Hundreds of civilians fled Mosul's Old City on Friday as Iraqi forces slowly squeezed the last pockets of Islamic State resistance, and the UN warned that the'intense and concentrated' fighting put innocent lives in even greater danger Nadja Medley's chilling video of where she was found dead Obnoxious passenger gets very angry when she's not let off plane first The battles came a day after Iraqi forces made significant gains against the militants and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the group's self-proclaimed caliphate.


US shoots down 'Iranian-made' drone in Syria

Al Jazeera

In the latest sign of increasingly frequent confrontation with Damascus and its allies, Tuesday's incident closely followed Sunday's US downing of a piloted Syrian army jet in the southern Raqqa countryside after it dropped bombs near US-backed forces. The Pentagon said a US F-15 aircraft, flying over Syrian territory, fired on the drone after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces. The drone was shot down after it dropped bombs, aimed only at dirt, but in an area close enough to coalition forces whereby it was considered a threat. In Syria's tangled conflict, Washington backs a coalition of rebel forces fighting both President Assad and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.


US Fighter Jet Downs Iranian Drone In Syria, Second Pro-Regime Aircraft Shot Down In 3 Days

International Business Times

"The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday it would exert new control over the skies of western Syria in response to the downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the U.S. Air Force on Sunday, reports said. "From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets," CNN reported citing the Defense Ministry statement. The U.S. military has established a roughly 50-kilometer "deconfliction" ring around al-Tanf and has warned the pro-Assad forces -- through a Russian deconfliction channel -- that movement within the zone could be considered hostile and the Iranian drone was outside that deconfliction area when it was shot down, the Washington Post reported citing a U.S. defense official.


u-s-fighter-shoots-iranian-made-armed-drone-showing-hostile-intent-southern-syria

The Japan Times

The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group said a U.S. F-15 fighter jet shot down the drone "after it displayed hostile intent" while approaching a military camp near the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. on Sunday shot down a Syrian jet for the first time during the conflict near Raqqa after it dropped bombs near the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, which are battling IS. Fighting and bombardment meanwhile resumed early Tuesday between Syrian government forces and rebels in the southern city of Daraa and nearby areas, where a 48-hour truce had gone into effect on Saturday. The push by Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad's troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years.


US military shoots down Iranian-made drone in southern Syria

Associated Press

In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria. Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force in charge of the country's missile program, said it launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan. In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria. In this picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Monday, June 19, 2017, a missile is fired from city of Kermanshah in western Iran targeting the Islamic State group in Syria.


DARK SKIES OVER SYRIA US takes out armed Iranian drone as it moves on coalition troops

FOX News

A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed Iranian drone advancing on coalition forces in southern Syria on Tuesday, Fox News confirmed. The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle about 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces. An U.S Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter flies during a certification of the arresting gear last May. The coalition has made it clear to all parties publicly and through the deconfliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.


Syria conflict: US jet 'downs drone' near Jordan border

BBC News

A Syrian jet was also shot down in northern Syria on Sunday evening. Russia, which has an air contingent deployed in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, warned after that attack that it would track coalition aircraft with missile systems and military aircraft, though it stopped short of openly saying it would shoot them down. "They were threatening our forces on the ground," a US official quoted by AFP said of the drone shot down on Tuesday. The last drone the US says it shot down was also reportedly destroyed near Tanf after firing on coalition forces.