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Kurdish Peshmerga forces shot down an ISIS surveillance drone last week near the Mosul frontline in northern Iraq, reports ARA News, a Kurdish news service based in northern Syria and the Kurdistan region.
“Peshmerga forces managed to shoot down a [sic] aircraft used by Daesh [ISIS] to observe and photograph Peshmerga positions,” Islam Chali, a Peshmerga officer told ARA News.
ISIS has been using drones to conduct surveillance operations on the positions of Peshmerga, PKK, and other militant forces.
In addition to using drones for reconnaissance, ISIS utilises footage captured by the drones in its propaganda material.
During ISIS’ attack on the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria, drones were used to record several suicide attacks throughout the city. This footage was later used in propaganda videos released by the group.
Reports late last year suggest that ISIS has also been using improvised drones packed with explosives to attack Kurdish, Syrian, and Iraqi forces.
This drone was likely acquired on the black market, according to ARA News. Peshmerga commanders, however, have contended that ISIS now has the ability to build its own drones.
Qadir Qadir, Commander of Peshmerga forces on the Gwer frontline told AhlulBayt News that his forces recently downed two drones that were likely constructed in Mosul.
It is, however, unlikely that ISIS is building drones from scratch. Most probably, ISIS is smuggling drone-building kits into the territory it occupies, modifies them according to their needs, and attaches the desired payload, be it an HD camera or an improvised explosive device.
Whatever their origin, drones have become a familiar feature of modern warfare, with all sides employing them to the best of their abilities.