On November 12, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) announced that it had downed a drone of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) over Turkish-occupied areas in Syria’s northeastern region.
The drone was shot down by the SNA’s 3rd Corps with heavy anti-aircraft machine guns while it was flying over the village of Bab Alkher in the northern al-Hasakah countryside.
Photos of the wreckage show what appears to be a seemingly-large makeshift fixed-wing drone built around what appears to be an off-the-shelf kit. A two-cylinder engine and what appears to be a GPS antenna were installed on the drone, which was not armed.
The drone shot down over Bab Alkher by the SNA was without a doubt spying on Turkish forces. However, there is no evidence confirming that it was launched by the SDF.
Fixed-wing drones of this size can stay in the air for several hours and travel for dozens, if not hundreds of kilometers while carrying a small payload. The SDF ability to develop, assemble and operate such drones would pose a serious threat to Turkey.
The group has been working to develop reconnaissance, attack and even suicide drone for a few years now with very little success.
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