September 23, 2019
Israel denied any connection to a drone captured by Syrian regime forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights over the weekend, hinting the aircraft belonged to the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Syria’s state news agency (SANA) said Saturday that authorities had captured and dismantled a drone rigged with cluster bombs near the border with the Golan Heights, without specifying its source.
The drone was intercepted by Syria’s aerial defense system in the Hermon region, in northern Quneitra. It was downed after entering Syrian airspace from the west and passing over Erneh village, southwest of Damascus.
Israeli military spokesman Avichai Adraee announced that the drone did not belong to the army, adding: “Today we saw the Syrians prove that [Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem] Soleimani does what he wants in Syria and definitely doesn’t tell the Assad regime what he is up to.”
A Syrian military source explained that after dismantling the drone, engineering units found it was rigged with cluster bombs, in addition to the C4 explosive material, to be used to detonate and destroy the aircraft in the event of capture.
He did not announce the date of the incident, nor the party suspected of sending it.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the downing of the drone, but was unable to confirm if it was hit by forces of the Syrian regime or Hezbollah.
On Thursday, Syrian anti-aircraft defenses downed another drone over Aqraba village, south of Damascus, also without specifying its origin.
Damascus often accuses Israel of launching attacks against it. In recent years, Israel has carried out dozens of raids against Syrian military positions, Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
In recent weeks, the region witnessed numerous drone incidents between Israel and Syria and their allies, Hezbollah and Iran.
On August 24, Israel raided targets in Aqraba, killing two Hezbollah members, to prevent what it described as an imminent drone attack.
Hezbollah vowed in recent weeks to shoot down Israeli drones that violate Lebanese airspace, after an attack by two drones on the night of August 24-25, which the party accused Israel of carrying out in its stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
On September 9, the party announced the downing of an Israeli drone while crossing the southern border of Lebanon.