A recorded drone strike released by the UK Ministry of Defense captures the moment a drone controller drops munitions on an Islamic State sniper to prevent a mass public execution.
Someone should show this video at the Pentagon on repeat for the next six to eight weeks. Specifically, it should go on repeat in the offices of General McKenzie and General Milley, who are responsible for the deaths of 10 Afghan Civilians. After all, they're the guys who authorized a drone strike without any real actionable intelligence from troops on the ground. This is what a drone strike can and should accomplish when a drone isn't being used to score a political win.
The story here is pretty straight forward. An RAF drone flying high above the formerly Islamic State controlled Syrian town of Abu Kamal spotted a group of Islamic State fighters mustered in a town-square preparing to conduct a mass public execution. In order to stop the execution, the drone controllers knew that they had to drop their munition in a way that would enable the soon-to-be executed civilians the ability to escape the Islamic State fighters. The drone controllers quickly spotted the Islamic State sniper on overwatch above the civilians, and they made the judgement call to hit him with their munition.
Hitting the sniper took him out of the fight, which in turn enabled the civilians to use the distraction caused by the explosion to escape. From the video, it appears as if they were able to use this explosion as a chance to escape their executioners, but it's not known if they survived long-term.
This airstrike was conducted on May 9, 2017.