On July 9, the Turkish-backed National Syrian Army (NSA) released several photos showing the wreckage of a Russian Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was supposedly shot down over the northern Aleppo countryside.
The NSA’s 3rd Corps claimed that its “air-defense units” shoot down the UAV while it was carrying out a reconnaissance sortie over the town of Maraanaz.
The Orlan-10 has a flight duration of up to 16 hours and an operational range of 140km. The UAV can be equipped with different types of sensors to carry out several missions, including reconnaissance, 3D-mapping, electronic warfare and communication relay.
The UAV shot down over Maraanaz was apparently equipped with the Z-16ВКHD or Z-16IK35 electro-optical system manufactured by Russia’s Zala Aero Group.
Last month, the al-Qaeda-affiliated “Wa Harid al-Muminin” operations room shot down a UAV of the same type over the northern Hama countryside.
It remains unclear if the NSA indeed shot down the UAV, or if it had crashed due to a technical failure. Such a move by Turkish-backed militants could increase the tension around the Turkish-occupied regions in northern Syria.