The MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned combat air vehicle belonging to the US Air Force, crashed near the ISIS-controlled city of Tabaqa. The US Air Force said that a loss of control by remote pilots caused the crash. The statement added that the Reaper “was destroyed by coalition aircraft and is not in enemy hands.” In turn, ISIS-linked media outlets say that the Reaper had been shot down by ISIS fighters.
Amid the effectless attempts of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to break the ISIS defenses in Manbij, the coalition aircraft increased air strikes in the urban area of the city. Recently, 8 coalition air strikes hit “ISIS positions” in Manbij’s residential areas.
On July 5, Syrian and Russian warplanes hit militant positions in the eastern and northern parts of Homs province, countering a major ISIS counter-attack in the area. The ISIS terrorist group had launched a counter-offensive against the government forces at the village of Khattab. All attempts to seize the village were repelled by the Syrian army. Pro-government sources say that air strikes inflicted heavy damage to ISIS units that were participating in the attack.
Separately, the Syrian army and the National Defense Forces have repelled a major ISIS attack near the vilalge of Mabougah in the eastern part of Homs province. On July 3, pro-government forces seized Mabougah and nearby areas from the ISIS terrorist group. On July 4, after a series of heavy clashes, the loyalists partly withdrew from the area. However, after the fail of the ISIS counter-attacks on July 5, the Syrian army and the NDF got a new chance to achieve new gains.