Undated images of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), shot by Syrian activists as well as ISIS supporters, appeared on social media today. One former and two current U.S. officials familiar with the American drone program told ABC News the aircraft appeared to be an unarmed Predator drone, likely on a surveillance mission.
Activists with the “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered” campaign, who snapped some of the photos, told ABC News the drone spent about three hours flying over Raqqa city between noon and 3pm local time. These activists also reported seeing two purported ISIS fighters wearily watching the drone on a commercial street before taking off on a 4×4.
While it’s unclear who was in control of the drone, public records show the U.S. has air bases that operate UAVs relatively close to Raqqa, like at Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, just over 200 miles away. Late last month the officials revealed President Obama had given the OK for the U.S. to fly surveillance aircraft directly over Syria, according to The Associated Press. U.S. officials declined to comment for this report.