Several Syrian opposition websites reported in the last few days that booby-trapped ‘suicide’ drones were used for the first time against opposition forces in Syria, apparently by either the Russian forces or Shi’ite militias. The opposition website Syria Mubashir reported on October 19, 2015 that six small remote-controlled drones had exploded that day next to Ahrar Al-Sham targets in the village of Ma’ar Shimmareen, near the city of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man in Rif Idlib, killing and wounding several fighters and causing extensive damage to gear. The website also noted that there are conflicting reports regarding the source of the attacks, with some claiming that the drones were dispatched from the Hamimim airbase near Lattakia, where Russian troops are currently stationed, and others claiming that they were dispatched from portable launchers in the area where Shi’ite militias are located. The website also noted that this was the first time these weapons were used against the Rebels in Syria.
In a video posted to YouTube on October 20, the Syrian Smart News agency reported that five Russian drones had hit the Ahrar Al-Sham headquarters in Ma’ar Shimmareen, killing a fighter and damaging several vehicles. In the report, Ahrar Al-Sham field commander Abu Amir says that the drones landed and then exploded, breaking up into many pieces. Fighters from the organization explain that the drones are made of plastic and carry bombs that explode after the aircraft lands.
Ahrar Al-Sham fighter displays a piece of an exploded drone