Report: China Driving Armed Drone Use in Middle East

A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighter uses a drone at a monitoring point near the Syrian village of Qilah, in the southwestern edge of the Afrin region close to the border with Turkey, on January 22, 2018. Turkish forces began shelling the YPG enclave of Afrin from frontier Hatay province, according …
OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty

BEIRUT (AP) — The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by growing sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of state and non-state actors using them in regional conflicts.

That’s according to a new report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI. The report was released on Monday. It found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them or by building them domestically.

China has exploited America’s selective drone export policy to become an increasingly influential player in meeting demand.

The report, entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region,” says China is likely to continue playing a key role as supplier of armed UAVs to the region.

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