Al-Qaeda branch in Syria has shot down an Assad regime’s made-in-Iran drone

Al Jazeera has posted exclusive footage of a drone shot down by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s local branch in Syria, while it was flying over Aleppo.

The drone seems to be a Yasir drone, a small Iranian drone (that can be quickly disassembled to be carried in a suitcase) based on the American Boeing ScanEagle (captured by the Iranians in 2012).

The Yasir (or the Sayeh – the version operated by the IRGC, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) has been operating in Syria since November.

Yasir has quite a distinctive shape: it’s almost identical to a ScanEagle but it features a twin-tailboom empennage and an inverted v-tail elerudder similar to that of the RQ-7 Shadow.

Another drone of the same type was reportedly downed in the Qalamoun Mountains on Dec. 7. In this case the UAV is almost intact and easy to ID.

 H/T to @ShamiWitness and @massdall for the links

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. These drones are very strategic for urban limited warfare indeed. Cheap to make, easy to assemble, simple to fly and effective for limited intelligence gathering missions. This may not be
    the first time they have been shot dead and this will not be the last either, simply because of their low altitude flights. Al-Qaeda/ Taliban in South and North Waziristan region of Pakistan have shot down many US scan-eagles from which these Iranian drones were reversed engineered. What is amazing is the fact that only a few months in to production, and these drones seem to be flying in ample quantities all over Syria, given that the characteristics of this drone make it a perfect choice for the kind of Urban warfare taking place in the country.

  2. There seems to be some misinformation here. As a very close follower of incidents in Syria as it is my country, Al-Nusra is no longer an Al-Qaeda affiliate as far as I know. I do not deny Al-Qaeda within Syria, but they are ISIS, not Nusra.

    • Even if not affiliated to al-Qaida, they are not less dangerous than those. Almost all of these extremist Sunni groups are of Salafid and Wahabi origins (aka Saudi Arabia or educated in their schools).

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