Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Syria says second drone downed in 48 hours over south of the country

The drone was loaded with bombs and a C4 explosive, Damascus said

A handout photo made available by Syria's Arab News Agency Sana shows the drone which Syrian authorities said they have dropped and dismantled on the slopes of Jabal Al Sheikh, in al-Quneitra, Syria, 21 September 2019. EPA
A handout photo made available by Syria's Arab News Agency Sana shows the drone which Syrian authorities said they have dropped and dismantled on the slopes of Jabal Al Sheikh, in al-Quneitra, Syria, 21 September 2019. EPA

A drone was shot down on Saturday in Quneitra province in southern Syria, the second such incident in 48 hours, state media said.

Authorities "dismantled a drone" after it was shot down on the edge of Jabal Al Sheikh in the Quneitra countryside, south-west of Damascus, state news agency Sana reported.

The drone was loaded with bombs and a C4 explosive, it said.

The origin of the drone was not specified, though SANA reported it "came from the west".

The Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman said the drone did not come from his country and was likely Iranian.

"What is certain is that it is not an [Israeli army] drone," Avichay Adraee said on Twitter.

"Today we see proof … that [Iran's elite Qods Force commander] Qassem Soleimani does whatever he wants in Syria, and of course does not tell" the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.

On Thursday, another drone was downed by Syrian anti-aircraft defences over the village of Aqraba, south of Damascus, Sana reported, also without specifying the origin of the drone.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the downing of the drone on Saturday but was unable to confirm if it was hit by forces of the Syrian regime, or its ally, Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and Iran, both enemies of Israel, back the Damascus government in Syria's conflict.

On August 24, Israel launched a strike on Aqraba to prevent what it said was a planned attack with drones carrying explosives to its territory by Iran and pro-Iranian militia fighters.

The Observatory said that strike killed five fighters, including two Hezbollah members and an Iranian.

The August operation was followed hours later by what Hezbollah described as an Israeli drone attack on its Beirut stronghold.

Since the start of Syria's war in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on the country's territory against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

Updated: September 22, 2019 11:08 AM

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