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Islamic State’s air force: attacks and reconnaissance by drones

There have been some high profile claims about recent drone use by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. We’re starting to collect reports, focusing on Syria. For example, on April 3, ANHA reported SDF fighters shot down a drone that was bombing positions near Tabqa airbase. On April 2, Islamic State published imagery of what it claimed was an attack on SDF forces crossing the Euphrates by boat. In probably the most high-profile claim of late, local activists Raqqa24 said on March 30 that a US service member was killed in a camp in or near al-Krin, west of Tabqa, by a bomb dropped from an IS drone. A US coalition spokesperson told Grasswire on March 31 that no US service members had been killed by Islamic State drones. The drones used by Islamic State are adapted from commonly available remote control quadcopters and planes. They appear to use computer software to control the drones, identified by this Twitter account.
Further reading
Nick Waters, an ex-British Army officer and open source analyst, published an exhaustive look at IS drone tech and the munitions they have developed in February 2017. His most recent database of images is here. Ben Watson from DefenceOne published an in-depth story about IS drone use in Iraq in January 2017.
Drone watchers
We’re trying to collect reports of drone usage, mainly in Syria. We’ve started a short list of people already tracking IS drone use.

Latest updates

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