US Osprey Crashes in Syria

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U.S. officials said Friday that a military aircraft crashed in Syria, injuring two service members and damaging their Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Officials said the injuries were not life-threatening after what was called a “hard landing.” The service members have reportedly been released from medical care.

A source told CNN that the crash was not due to enemy activity. Another said the aircraft was not salvageable.

The U.S. military often uses Ospreys to move troops within Syria, where U.S. military advisers are working with the Syrian Democratic Forces to train them in combat against Islamic State militants.

Hospitals at risk

Also Friday, reports from doctors and medical aid groups say Syrian troops have renewed the bombing of hospitals, an act one human rights group calls “an egregious violation of the laws of war and a callous attempt to inflict suffering on civilians.”

The statement from Physicians for Human Rights, which tracks attacks against medical facilities, said the latest set of attacks was the most intense since April and may amount to war crimes.

Brice de le Vingne of Doctors Without Borders said the attacks are taking place near Idlib. “It is demonstrably evident that hospitals are not safe from bombings in Idlib at the moment, and this is outrageous,” he said.

The United Nations has deemed attacks against hospitals a systematic attempt by the Syrian government to target health care facilities.

IS drone experts dead

On Thursday, the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria said three of the terror group’s drone experts were killed in Syria earlier this month.

U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the counter-IS coalition, says Abu Muadh al-Tunisi was killed on September 12 and Sajid Farooq Babar was killed on September 13 by coalition airstrikes conducted near Mayadin, Syria, in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.

Speaking to reporters via videoconference from Baghdad, Dillon said the two Islamic State fighters “were responsible for manufacturing and modifying commercially produced drones.”

Separately, on September 14, two airstrikes in Syria targeted IS drone developer Abu Salman near Mayadin and destroyed his research lab in Ashara, Syria.

Salman and “a terrorist associate” were killed while traveling in a vehicle from Mayadin to Ashara, according to Dillon.

“The removal of these three highly skilled ISIS officials disrupts and degrades ISIS’s ability to modify and employ drone platforms as reconnaissance and direct-fire weapons on the battlefield,” Dillon said, using an acronym for the terror group.

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