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US loses two drones over Idlib, Syria after 'midair collision' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

US loses two drones over Idlib, Syria after 'midair collision'

Footage of the alleged crash circulated on social media [Twitter]

Date of publication: 19 August, 2020

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Whether the drones were shot at after a collision occurred and whether that contributed to the crash remains unclear, the US defence official said.
The United States lost two drones over Idlib in Syria on Tuesday in what a US defence official said was a midair collision.

The anonymous US official told Military Times that initial reports indicate there was a collision.

Whether the drones were shot at after a collision occurred and whether that contributed to the crash remains unclear, the official added.

Images of the burning drones circulated on Twitter on Tuesday with many speculating as to the cause of the crash.

Some social media users speculated the aircraft involved to be MQ-9 Reapers - an armed, remotely piloted aircraft used for executing targets and intelligence gathering.

The defence official did not confirm the type of drone.

Idlib is the last major battleground between forces loyal to Syrian regime President Bashar al-Assad and rebel and extremist forces in the region, some of whom are backed by Turkey. 

The offensive has intensified the humanitarian crisis of Syria's brutal nine-year civil war with close to one million people fleeing the region in the dead of winter this year.

This would not be the first instance of a downed US Reaper drone in the Middle East.

In August 2019, Yemen's Houthis shot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone. Similarly, in June that year, the US said a MQ-9 Reaper was shot down by the Houthi rebels. 

The shootdowns came as the US has waged a long campaign of drone strikes in Yemen targeting suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington considers the most-dangerous offshoot of the extremist group.

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