The Syrian government announced Tuesday that it had downed a U.S. spy drone over the country’s north.
“Syrian air defenses brought down a hostile U.S. surveillance plane in northern Latakia,” claimed the state-owned Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) in a bulletin, without giving further details.
The Syrian state-run television also broadcasted footage of what it referred to as the drone’s wreckage, showing a burnt down aircraft, being loaded onto the back of a truck by soldiers.
It is the first time that the Syrian government attacks a U.S. aircraft since Washington began an airstrike campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Pentagon officials only confirmed they had lost communication with the drone but avoided saying whether or not it had been shot down.
“At this time, we have no information to corroborate press reports that the aircraft was shot down,” a U.S. defense official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
U.S. officials have previously described Syrian skies as relatively passive, noting that the Syrian government does not aim at coalition aircraft flying over its territory. However President Bashar al-Assad's government has reiterated that it considers the airstrikes a violation to Syria's sovereignty.
The downing of the drone comes after Secretary of State John Kerry said during an interview Sunday that Western allies seek to negotiate with President Al-Assad.