The Turkey-backed rebels unit, known as the Al-Fatah al-Mubin, says it has shot down a Russian Orlan-10 unmanned aircraft over the strategic Zawiya Mountain, in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
In a statement released on social media, the Al-Fatah al-Mubin group claimed it had shot down the Orlan-10 medium-range, multipurpose unmanned aerial vehicle using machine guns.
The Orlan-10 is an unmanned aerial system developed by Russian firm Special Technology Center LLC in St Petersburg. The drone is in service with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
It is intended for a variety of missions including aerial reconnaissance, observation, monitoring, search and rescue, combat training, jamming, detection of radio signals, and target tracking.
The group said the plane had been carrying out an aerial reconnaissance mission over the strategic Zawiya Mountain. Zawiya Mountain has strategic importance as it overlooks the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Syrian military sources, in turn, said the Russian Orlan-10 drone crashed in Idlib province for technical reasons. Also stated that it is the second unmanned aircraft of this model to crash in two days.