The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has shot down two drones which were spying on its posts in the southern countryside of Idlib.
The drones were shot down by SAA personnel on April 6 and 7. Both were spying on army posts in the town of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. The town, which was liberated on January 28 of 2020, is located on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, known as the M5.
The downed drones were both commercially-available DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. This model has a flight time of 31 minutes. The drone is equipped with an imaging sensor with up to 4x zoom, including a 2x optical zoom. This makes the drone useful for reconnaissance operations.
The drones were likely launched by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib. The terrorist group and its allies control vast areas to the north and west of Ma`arat al-Nu`manm, which used to be their main stronghold in southern Idlib.
The militants’ repeated attempts to spy on SAA forces in Ma`arat al-Nu`man specifically indicate that they may be preparing to launch an attack on the town. Any such attack will likely lead to the collapse of the ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey last year.
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