Media linked to Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah released several photos and reports claiming that an Israeli drone was shot down somewhere over Syria.
Hezbollah provided little information about the incident, stating that the drone was probably shot by Syrian militants.
The drone appears to be an Elbit Skylark, designed and produced by Israeli Elbit Systems corporation. It is a miniature Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for tactical surveillance and reconnaissance. It was designed in 2000’s and entered service with the Israeli Defence forces around 2008. Depending on the version, Skylark can have a range of 20 to 100 kilometers and an endurance of up to 6 hours. It was exported to more than 20 countries worldwide and saw operational service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Israeli Ministry of Defence has confirmed that they did lost one drone during combat action, adding that the situation is under control and that a military investigation has been launched.
Several Syrian media reported that on Sunday, another Israeli drone penetrated Syrian airspace. It was thwarted by Syrian Army and Air defence, and was forced to return to Israel. Later that day it was reported that a Syrian militant fighting for the regime, Yasser al-Sayed, was killed by a drone strike near the Israeli border. These reports correlate to those made by Lebanese media about a military drone crashing in the vicinity of Gaza on Wednesday 16th of March and Syrian reports of Israeli jet fighters penetrating Syrian airspace in attempts to bomb Syrian Army positions.
These recent events caused quite a stir in the Middle East, as Syrian officials accused Israel of carrying out military actions outside of its territory without the approval of the International community and UN Security council.
Israeli officials have not made any statements regarding these incidents. However, they do not deny that Israel has indeed been carrying out some military actions which they describe as “purely defensive measures that serve to protect Israeli borders and its people”.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah, an islamist militant group dedicated to ousting Israel from Lebanese lands, announced that these events only prove Israel’s intentions to make the region unstable in order to expand its influence and territory.
Formed in 1982 by a small group of Lebanese Shiite clerics as a response to Israel’s invasion of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has been fighting Israel for more than three decades now. It is supported, financed and armed by Iran, mostly its Revolutionary guard. Ever since the Syrian Civil war broke out in 2011, just like the official Iranian government, Hezbollah has been sided with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ans has vowed to oust ISIS, Al Nusrah, and “western puppets” out of Syria and Lebanon.