Russia And Iran Start Using SUICIDE Drones To Fight Off Assad’s Enemies

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Russia and Iran have started launching suicide drones to fight off rebels trying to take out the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

These drones are designed to land and then explode near targets, The Washington Times reports.

News agency Syria Mubasher reported that six drones, which apparently came from a base in Russian-controlled Lattakia in western Syria, exploded near fighters from Ahrar al-Sham, an al-Qaida affiliate. This resulted in several dead and wounded.

An Ahrar al-Sham commander told the Smart News agency in Syria that the drones exploded like a booby trap. This took place by the city of Ma’ara al-Nuiman.

But some claimed that the drones came from Shiite areas, which are currently dominated by the Lebanese Hezbollah, a group in turn run by proxy from Iran. In late December 2014 the commander of Iran’s ground forces told media that its kamikaze drones had seen action in military drills. Development of suicide drones in Iran goes back at least to 2013. Foreign experts poked fun at the drones after reviewing footage from Iranian TV stations, but it appears the drones are functional enough to see some use.

Called the Raad by Iranian media, the drone is essentially a copy of Boeing’s ScanEagle and has limited utility against military targets, as defense systems can easily spot the surveillance drone strapped with explosives and take it out of the sky. The exception is economic targets and ground fighters, who may not have access to radar and defense systems.

Other regional powers are also developing suicide drone technology. In June, Israel Aerospace Industries announced that it had upgraded its suicide drones to sell to foreign buyers. The company did not provide the identities of the foreign buyers.

The strike on Ahrar al-Sham counts as another hit on a non-ISIS-related target, which supports the position of American officials, namely that Russia is focused on ensuring that U.S.-backed rebel groups don’t pose a threat to the Assad regime, instead of taking out ISIS.

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