US drone destroys Russian-made tank in Syria in ‘self-defense,’ officials say

Crew members ride in a T-72 tank during a joint military drills of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic forces and the Luhansk People's Republics forces at the Torez range outside the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukraine September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko - RC1B09361E30

A U.S. drone, acting in self-defense, destroyed a Russian-made T-72 tank in eastern Syria over the weekend, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command told reporters Tuesday.

News reports indicate that three people inside the tank were killed.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian said U.S. forces for several hours used drones and B-52 bombers to strike fighters after they came under fire from the tank.

“We detected and saw a tank that took a shot at us,” Harrigian said via teleconference from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

“It continued to move, so we again executed self-defense rules of engagement to protect ourselves. And I believe, again, that’s something we always have the right to do and will make sure we’re in a position to do,” Harrigian added.

Fox News reported Tuesday that it was a U.S.-made MQ-9 Reaper drone that destroyed the Russian tank, and that three people inside the vehicle were killed.

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