Israel Blames Iran for Explosives-laden Drone Captured by Syria Near Israeli Border

Military's Arabic-language spokesman suggests Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force is acting in Syria without coordination with the Assad regime

A drone that was allegedly shot down by Syria in the outskirts of Jabal al-Sheikh in the north of Quneitra province, September 21, 2019.
STRINGER / various sources / AFP

An explosives-laden drone captured by Syrian authorities was not Israeli and was likely Iranian, the Israeli military's Arabic-language spokesman said Saturday.

"Today we see proof that [the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force leader] Qassem Soleimani does whatever he wants in Syria and certainly doesn't tell the Assad regime," said the Israel Defense Forces' Avichay Adraee. According to Adraee, the drone's location was in the area from which the Quds Force attempted to launch a drone attack on Israeli targets last month. 

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Syria's state news agency said earlier Saturday that authorities had captured and dismantled a drone rigged with cluster bombs near the border with the Golan Heights.

The drone, SANA said, was intercepted by Syria's aerial defense system in the Hermon region, in northern Quneitra.

According to the report, the drone was downed after entering Syrian airspace from the west and passing over the village of Erneh, southwest of Damascus. 

The report quoted a Syrian military source, who said that an investigation of the drone uncovered cluster bombs in addition explosive materials, to be used to detonate and destroy the drone in the event of capture.

SANA 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 militant group Hezbollah in Syria.

In neighboring Lebanon, a government investigation concluded 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 kilograms (10 pounds) of explosives.

In a separate report Saturday, SANA said Syrian authorities found weapons, ammunition, food and vehicles made in Israel in the village of Briqah, in southern Quneitra.

In addition to bullets and magazines, photos released by the state-run news agency show Hebrew-labeled packages of food.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Rifles, magazines and bullets
SANA
Packages of Israeli food
SANA