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US: Coalition Strikes Kill 3 Islamic State Drone Experts in Syria

FILE - U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group, says the fatal strikes against three drone experts degrade IS's ability "to modify and employ drone platforms as reconnaissance and direct-fire weapons on the battlefield."

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

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the counter-Islamic State coalition, said Abu Muadh al-Tunisi was killed on September 12 and Sajid Farooq Babar was killed on September 13 by coalition airstrikes 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 Islamic State 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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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.