The media centre of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday said they shot down a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Afrin and released video footage of the destroyed vehicle.
The SDF said it was a Bayraktar Tactical UAS, a surveillance and reconnaissance system that was initially developed for the Turkish Armed Forces.
“On 12 February 2018, the air defences of our forces managed to shoot down an unmanned Bayraktar reconnaissance aircraft in Qodeh village of Afrin,” the SDF said.
“This is considered to be one of the finest Turkish military aircrafts, according to the Turkish state and it is capable of manoeuvring in all climatic and air conditions, as well having a night vision system and infrared technology,” the SDF said.
The SDF statement says the aircraft also uses a remotely controlled missile system. “The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had signed the body of the plane before sending it to Afrin's sky, unaware that it would be its last flight,” the SDF said.
So far, the Turkish army has not confirmed yet if one of their drones was shot down.
Aaron Stein, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center told The Region that Turkey has made use of drones to advance most of their military operations in Syria.
“These are the drones that Turkey uses for most of its operations, including Afrin,” he said.
It’s not the first time the SDF has shot down a Turkish military aerial vehicle.
Last Saturday, the SDF shot down a Turkish helicopter. The Turkish army confirmed the two soldiers on board died, with the Turkish president Erdogan vowing revenge against those who shot down the helicopter.