On August 11, a Russia Orlan-10 drone crashed near the town of Arihah in the southern part of the Syrian region of Greater Idlib, where several terrorist groups are present and active.
Some Syrian opposition activists claimed that the drone was shot down by militants, while others said that a technical failure was behind the crash. The drone appeared to be nearly intact in a photo that surfaced online, which indicate that it was targeted.
The Orlan-10 has a flight duration of 16 hours and a range of 140 kilometers. The drone can be equipped with several types of sensors to carry out different missions including surveillance, communication relay, electronic warfare and 3D-mapping. The drone’s low-cost makes it suitable for high-risk operations.
The drone was likely conducting a surveillance mission over Arihah and its outskirts. The town, which overlooks one of the main frontlines with Syrian government forces, is a stronghold of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib.
This was the first Orlan-10 to crash in Syria this year. Last year, Russia lost a total of nine drones of this type in different parts of the war-torn country. Most of the drones crashed as a result of technical failures. The Russian military retrieved only a few of them.
The Russian military keeps a close eye at Greater Idlib, which is the subject of a ceasefire that was brokered more than two years ago. Militants in the region violate the ceasefire on regular basis.