Damascus says second drone downed in 48 hours over south Syria

Damascus says second drone downed in 48 hours over south Syria

Damascus (AFP) – 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, 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”.

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, the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and regional Shiite 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.

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