U.S. Military Loses Track of Drone Over Northwest Syria

A handout picture made available by the Syrian Arab news agency SANA shows the remnants of a reconnaissance aircraft on Tuesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sana/EPA)
A handout picture made available by the Syrian Arab news agency SANA shows the remnants of a reconnaissance aircraft on Tuesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sana/EPA)

The U.S. military has lost control of a drone over northwest Syria, U.S. officials said Tuesday, as the government of President Bashar al-Assad claimed to have shot down a U.S. surveillance plane for the first time since U.S. airstrikes began there last year.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency reported that Syrian air defenses brought down a “hostile U.S. surveillance plane” in northern Latakia, on Syria’s northern Mediterranean coast.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the Pentagon is looking into the incident.

“We can confirm that at approximately 1:40 p.m. EDT today, U.S. military controllers lost contact with an U.S. MQ-1 Predator unarmed remotely piloted aircraft operating over northwest Syria,” the official said.

Two other officials said it was not yet clear whether the aircraft had been shot down or had crashed.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Missy Ryan