The US claims it has killed an Isis leader, Usamah al-Muhajir, in a drone strike in Eastern Syria.
In a statement, US Central Command, which is responsible for protecting America’s interests in the Middle East, said it carried out the strike on Friday (7 July) using MQ-9 drones.
It said the same drones had been harassed in Syria on Wednesday by Russian aircraft in an encounter that had lasted almost two hours.
The statement said: “US Central Command conducted a strike in Syria that resulted in the death of Usamah al-Muhajir, an Isis leader in eastern Syria.”
It gave no further details about Mr al-Muhajir’s death.
Earlier on Sunday, the US Air Force released footage of the drones encountering Russian fighter jets over Syria and said the MQ-9 Reapers were forced to take evasive action.
It claimed one of the Russian pilots moved their aircraft in front of a drone and engaged the SU-35’s afterburner, which reduced the drone operator’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.
US Air Forces Central said in a statement: “These events represent a new level of unprofessional and unsafe action by Russian air forces operating in Syria.”
Its announcement comes after during the last year Washington has increased raids and operations against suspected Isis operatives in Syria.
It has arrested or killed various leaders of the terrorist group who were living in Turkey-backed rebel-controlled areas after the group lost its last territory in Syria in 2019.
In 2019 a US led campaign killed former Isis head Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who had declared himself the “caliph of all Muslims”
Since then it has targeted the group’s surviving leaders, many of whom are believed to have planned attacks abroad.
US military commanders say Isis remains a significant threat within the region but its capabilities have been degraded and its ability to re-establish its network weakened.
The so-called Islamic State controlled one-third of Iraq and Syria at its peak in 2014 but both countries were able to take back territory it seized control of.
Additional reporting by Reuters.