On May 22, a loitering munition launched by the Turkish military hit a position of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces near the village of al-Mushayrifah in the northern countryside of Syria’s Raqqa, wounding a civilian.
Prior to the loitering munition strike, the artillery of the Turkish military and its proxies shelled farmlands near the SDF-held village of Tell Jumaa in the northern al-Hasakah countryside. Three civilians were wounded as a result of the shelling.
The loitering munition used in the attack was likely a Kargu. The loitering munition was designed by Turkey’s STM to carry out reconnaissance and attack missions. The system has a maximum range of five kilometers and an endurance of 30 minutes.
The Kargu can operate in a swarm and has AI [artificial intelligence] image processing capabilities with support to facial recognition.
Recently, the Turkish military began using Kargu loitering munitions against both the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
On February 27, a suspected attack with a Kargu loitering munition targeted a position of the SAA in the town of Tell Rifaat in the northern countryside of Aleppo. On April 28, a loitering munition crashed near the SDF-held village of Sewarxa, also in the northern Aleppo countryside. On May 7, the SAA shot down a Kargu loitering munition over an unspecified position in the northern Aleppo countryside. On May 20, the army reportedly shot down another loitering munition over the same position.
The recent Turkish attacks were likely meant to trigger a response from the SDF or even the SAA. A response that Ankara could use to justify a new military operation in Syria.
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