Syria claims to shoot down US reconnaissance aircraft

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 17, 2015 10:37 PM

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state media said the country's air defenses shot down a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft Tuesday in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast.

A U.S. official said a U.S. Predator drone went down in Syria, but it's not clear whether it was shot down. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon had not yet announced the loss, said U.S. officials were trying to determine why operators of the drone lost control of it.

Syria's SANA state news agency said the aircraft was downed north of the coastal city of Latakia. It provided no further details. State television broadcast footage of what it said was the wreckage, including a wheel and electronic parts. Soldiers in camouflage could be seen loading some of the debris into the back of a truck.

If confirmed, it would be the first American aircraft to go down over Syria since the U.S. expanded its aerial campaign against the Islamic State extremist group to the country in September.

A Jordanian jet crashed near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa in December. The Islamic State group captured the pilot and later burned him alive.

___

Associated Press writer Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.