Syrian Rebels Put Captured Iranian Drones on YouTube
Chalk up another victory for the social-media prowess of the Syrian rebels. The opposition to Bashar Assad says it’s captured spy drones made by Assad’s patron, Iran. And it’s put the evidence on YouTube.
In the video above, Syrian rebels show off three smallish, unarmed surveillance drones they say they downed. Walking a viewer through what looks like a machinist shop displaying their banner, the Syrians display two robotic planes built around a missile-shaped fuselage, appearing to be around six feet in length, painted red and yellow; and a far smaller red plane. All three show signs of damage, with the tiny drone’s nose cone looking to have taken the worst, and alongside the drones are pamphlets displaying the face of the dead Iranian ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It’s yet more evidence that Iran considers Syria’s civil war to be a proxy contest with much at stake for their influence in the region.
The two larger drones appear to be variants of Iran’s homemade Ababil, or Swallow, surveillance aircraft. Those drones take off through a pneumatic launcher, reducing the need for a runway, and making them attractive, easy-to-use candidates for export to an ally. Their closed-circuit TV cameras allow them to transmit a video feed back to a ground station — say, one that might want to perform recon on a corridor of Syria outside of Assad’s control. @ZodiacRebel flagged the video for Danger Room.