The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Syria captures drone near Israeli-occupied Golan

Syria’s state news agency says authorities have captured and dismantled a drone rigged with cluster bombs near the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

SANA gave no further details about the drone on Saturday, but posted several photos.

The incident came two days after another drone was destroyed over the Damascus suburb of Aqraba. No one claimed responsibility for the drones.

Israel frequently conducts airstrikes and missile attacks inside war-torn Syria but rarely confirms them. Israel says it targets mostly bases of Iranian forces and the Lebanese group Hezbollah in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said it was not clear if Syrian troops or members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah controlled the drone.

Hezbollah has fighters in different parts of Syria where they are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday expressed frustration with what he said was the United States’ continued support for Syrian Kurdish militants.

Speaking to reporters before his departure for the UN meetings in New York, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey had completed all preparations for a possible unilateral military operation in northeast Syria, along the Turkish border east of the Euphrates River.

Last month, Turkey and the United States agreed to take steps toward establishing a so-called “safe zone” in the area that would keep US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces away from Turkey’s border.

Turkey has, however, warned that it will not allow the United States to delay the establishment of the safe zone and has threatened to launch an operation on its own within two weeks.

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters to be “terrorists” due to their links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

“We have no wish of confronting the United States,” Erdogan said. “However, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring the support that the United States is giving terrorist organisations in an area where it was not invited to be.”

Erdogan said he would discuss the issue during a possible meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York.

In neighbouring Lebanon, a government investigation concluded on Thursday that two Israeli drones were on an attack mission when they crashed in the capital last month, one of them armed with 4.5 kilogrammes of explosives.

Doctors from Turkey’s large cities have been stationed in two southern provinces to prepare for a possible incursion into northern Syria, two security sources told Reuters on Friday, adding leave for doctors in the region had been cancelled.

Turkey and the United States have been working to establish a safe zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border. Erdogan has said that Washington is stalling the process and that Turkey would carry out an operation into Syria if the safe zone is not set up by the end of September.

A security source said doctors from some large cities were stationed in the southern provinces of Sanliurfa and Mardin in preparation for a possible incursion.

“President Erdogan clearly spoke of Turkey’s concern over PYD/YPG presence in Syria and pointed to a possible military operation if there is no developments in the second half of September,” the source said, referring to the Syrian-Kurdish militia that controls most of northern and northwestern Syria.

The YPG has been a main US ally in the fight against Daesh in Syria. US support for the fighters has infuriated Turkey, which considers the YPG a terrorist organisation, and strained ties with Washington.

Next week, Erdogan and US President Donald Trump will discuss plans for the safe zone along 450 km of Syrian border stretching east from the Euphrates river to the Iraqi border.

Turkey has already carried out two incursions against the YPG in Syria.

“The leaves of doctors have been suspended to prepare for a possible cross-border operation. We have been preparing for a long time. Now it is at a phase that the operation can be conducted whenever deemed necessary,” a senior security official said

Source: Syria captures drone near Israeli-occupied Golan – GulfToday