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Iran’s support of both the Iraqi government and the Syrian regime in their ongoing wars with rebels and terrorist groups is no longer in question. The Islamic Republic offers money, weapons and information to both Damascus and Baghdad. They also provide surveillance drones. However, recent footage claims to show that Tehran is also testing out new combat drones in these war zones.
Hundreds of amateur videos— filmed by both civilians and jihadist fighters—show both the Assad regime in Syria and Shia militias in Iraq using Iranian drones.
Iran developed these sophisticated drones—including the Ababil, Mohajer and Shahed models in spite of thirty years of US and UN sanctions that banned the sale of weapons to Tehran.
According to specialists, most of these Iranian drones are surveillance mechanisms. Iran uses them to gather information on enemy positions, which they then share with the Iraqi or Syrian governments. Since these drones can transmit videos in real time, they also allow Iraqi and Syrian forces to direct more accurate rocket and artillery fire at their targets.
However, in late 2015, the Iranian state TV channel published a video claiming to have been filmed in an Iranian combat drone being tested in Syria. The footage shows both the trajectory of a missile and the final explosion when it hits the target. Even though the footage was surprising, it wasn’t picked up by other media sources or shared on social media.