Second 'bomb-laden drone' downed in Syria in 48 hours: Damascus

Second 'bomb-laden drone' downed in Syria in 48 hours: Damascus
A drone loaded with bombs and C4 explosive was taken down by Syrian authorities, according to state media.

3 min read
21 September, 2019
The drone was the second to enter Syria's airspace in 48 hours [Getty]
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 Jaba al-Sheikh in the countryside of Quneitra province, southwest of Damascus, state news agency SANA reported.

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

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

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 not able to confirm if it was hit by forces of the Syrian regime, or its ally, the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and regional Shia power 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 the Jewish state 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.

On Thursday, Lebanon's defence minister exhibited two drones he said Israel had sent last month into a Beirut bastion of Hezbollah, one of which was "loaded" with explosives.

Elias Bou Saab displayed a pair of drones - one intact and the remains of the other - and used slides to give a detailed account of the alleged Israeli operation.

He said the devices were "advanced military production" and even listed the name and address of one Israeli company he said made some of the components.

"For the first time we see drones loaded with explosives fly over Beirut's airport and threaten the security of civil aviation," he added.

The 25 August drone incident in Beirut, which came a day after Israeli strikes targeted Hezbollah operatives in Syria, drastically raised tensions in the region.

Lebanon's government and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah both described the apparently botched operation as an act of aggression.

Following the Beirut incident, Hezbollah had vowed to take down Israeli drones overflying Lebanon and on 9 September claimed it had downed and seized one.

The Israeli army confirmed that one of its devices "fell" in Lebanon but it has not commented on the 25 August incident.

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