Local sources in the countryside of Idleb have informed Athr Press that “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), also known as Jabhat al-Nusra allies, has reportedly acquired approximately 90 modified drones. These drones were transported from Turkish territory to the border city of Sarmada nearly a month ago.
According to the sources, Abu Khattab, one of the leaders of HTS, facilitated the transportation of these drones after coordinating with the Turkish border guards (gendarmerie). The drones were brought in batches through one of the crossings, destined for the city of Sarmada near the Syrian-Turkish border. Subsequently, they were transferred to an HTS headquarters in the vicinity.”
What does HTS do with these drones?
Local sources have confirmed that HTS in Idleb has set up a drone modification laboratory near one of the camps in the Sarmada area. The purpose of this laboratory is to safeguard it from aerial attacks. The supervision of the laboratory is reportedly undertaken by individuals of French and British nationality who specialize in drone modification and equipping them with high-explosive materials.
To ensure secrecy and protection from targeting, the modified drones are transported covertly by vehicles affiliated with the White Helmets organization. These drones are deployed in the areas near the contact lines, specifically south of Idleb, west of Hama, and the northeastern countryside of Lattakia.
How does the Syrian army deal with these drones?
A reliable source has confirmed to Athr that the Syrian army has successfully intercepted and shot down 12 drones in various locations, including the Idleb countryside, al-Ghab plain, and Lattakia countryside, over the past few months. The army has implemented advanced ambush strategies specifically designed for monitoring, reconnaissance, and countering such drones using ground-based anti-aircraft systems.
Upon examining the downed drones, it was discovered that the armed factions have been attempting to modify these aircraft. They have incorporated small gasoline-powered engines to enable extended flight distances. Furthermore, missiles or high-explosive bombs have been affixed to the wings of the drones to maximize potential damage.
In a related development, Russian warplanes targeted one of the HTS headquarters situated near the town of Fleifel in Jabal al-Zawiya, south of Idleb. It was revealed that the targeted headquarters was a workshop housing logistical equipment, including facilities for finalizing drone preparations before their deployment.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.