Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has carried out 700 drone strikes against Islamic State in Syria, its aerospace chief told conservative news agency Fars on Tuesday.
“Our bomber drones have carried out 700 military operations using smart bombs against Daesh,” said IRGC Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
“They were used in eliminating tanks, personnel carriers, cars used for suicide attacks and 23-mm cannons – these were targets prized by Daesh and we significantly turned the tide of battle,” he added.
The IRGC most recently used military drones against ISIS targets in Syria on October 1, in retaliation for a deadly attack in September on a military parade in Iran’s southwest city Ahvaz claimed by the militant group.
Seven military drones as well as six ballistic missiles struck the “ISIS headquarters” in the eastern Syrian town of Hajin, about 24 km (15 miles) north of Al Bukamal bordering Iraq.
Iranian media said images published indicated the drones were indigenously-produced “Saegheh” (“Thunderbolt”) long-range aircraft, reverse-engineered from a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel captured by Iran in 2011.
Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said at the time that the strikes were the first time the drones had “crossed multiple countries and reached their targets.”
It was also the first time Iran had officially announced it was using combat drones outside of its borders, the conservative Tasnim news agency said.
Iran is a key backer of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and a contingent of Revolutionary Guards operate in the country as military advisers.
With reporting from AFP