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The Legality of the Downing of the Turkish Drone by the US

On 4 October 2023, the US downed a Turkish drone in Syria after it came within 500m of a US military base in a region controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Euphrates. Multiple Turkish drones carried out airstrikes in the region as part of a response to a terrorist attack aimed at the Turkish Interior Ministry in Ankara. Some initial strikes were within a so-called restricted operating zone (ROZ), which the US claimed as a security buffer to protect its troops. Afterwards, one drone re-entered the zone and approached where US forces were deployed. Before the incident, Turkish officials were contacted several times, informed about the presence of the US troops in the proximity, and warned that forcible measures would be taken in self-defence if the drone did not leave. In the end, the US decided to act and downed the drone. No US forces were harmed, and there was no indication that Turkey intended to strike US targets. The facts are not disputed publicly…

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