On June 15, a Turkish Kargu loitering munition was shot down near the town of Manbij in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo by the Manbij Military Council, a local faction of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Kargu was designed by Turkey’s STM to carry out reconnaissance and attack missions. The loitering munition has a maximum range of five kilometers and an endurance of 30 minutes. It can be armed with different types of warheads. The munition can operate in a swarm and has AI [artificial intelligence] image processing capabilities with support to facial recognition.
After the shot down of the loitering munition, the Turkish military shelled the SDF-held village of al-Mahsnah, which is located to the north of Manbij, with more than 30 mortar rounds. No losses were reported, however.
Several attacks with Kargu loitering munitions were reported in the northern Aleppo countryside in the last few months. One of the most recent attacks, which took place on June 1, targeted a medical clink in the town of Tell Rifaat.
The Turkish military and its proxies have been preparing to launch a new operation against the SDF since May. Manbij and Tell Rifaat were both named as the main targets of the operation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a recent speech.
The recent Turkish attacks on Manbij and Tell Rifaat were likely meant to provoke a response from the group that could be used by Ankara as a casus belli.
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