On February 6, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) shot down a Russian drone near the town of Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Raqqa.
Initially, Kurdish sources affiliated with the SDF claimed that the drone was belonging to Turkey. However, a photo released by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the drone was a Russian-made Orlan-10.
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.
— Islamic World Update (@islamicworldupd) February 6, 2021
The drone was likely on a reconnaissance mission to monitor the situation around Ain Issa. SDF sources claimed that the drone was shot down by mistake. The US-backed group is yet to confirm or deny this.
A few hours after the incident, a US MQ-9 Reaper combat drone was filmed flying over Ain Issa. The drone, which was not armed, was carrying three unidentified pods. The drone was most likely spying on Russian and Syrian government forces.
Eyn İsa semalarında Sihalar dolaşıyor. pic.twitter.com/KrQyXDffLM
— Yıldız Devran (@Yildz_Dv) February 6, 2021
Several units of the Russian Military Police and the Syrian Arab Army were deployed in Ain Issa in October of 2019 to monitor the ceasefire between Turkish forces and the SDF.
The US, which abandoned its Kurdish allies around two years ago, is apparently planning to limit Russian and Syrian presence there. The SDF may have shot the Russian drone to facilitate these plans.
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