On Mar. 1, 2020, two Syrian Arab Air Force Su-24 jets and a Turkish Anka-S drone were reportedly shot down over the Idlib region, in northwest Syria, where tensions have escalated after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by Damascus prompting Ankara to ramp up its attack against the Syrian army as part of its cross-border military operation dubbed “Spring Shield”.
Interestingly, Ankara also bombed the Syrian air defense systems that downed one Turkish armed droned in Idlib.
It seems over Idlib was downed another Turkish ANKA-S pic.twitter.com/Y13KyVqWrb
— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) March 1, 2020
A few hours before the downing of the Syrian Su-24s, footage started to appear on Twitter of the Turkish drone shot down by the Syrian Air Defense. Initially believed to be a fighter jet, it was later clearly identified as a Turkish Anka-S drone.
Twist of events.. The airplane that was shoot this morning over Saraqib was Turkish Air Force TAI Anka-S, armed combat drone. Syrian Air Defence claims the downing. Rebels celebrate. Syira these days. pic.twitter.com/wGtPMV8XMl
— Aldin ?? (@aldin_ww) March 1, 2020
The Anka-S is a Turkish Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV in an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform whose development began in 2004. Equipped with ViaSat’s VR-18C Highpower SATCOM antenna and a national flight control computer, the Anka can fly up to 24 hours and carry up to 200 kg in the payload.
The first weapon integrated in the Anka is the Roketsan’s MAM-L smart micro munition, a glide-bomb derivative of the laser-guided long-range anti-tank missile system (L-UMTAS) with a semi-active laser-homing (SALH) seeker that can be used to engage stationary and moving targets.
Another Anka-S was shot down in Syria on Feb. 25, 2020.
Turkish forces have been hitting Syrian government targets in Idlib in recent weeks. In February, 55 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syrian government attacks, including airstrikes, in Idlib.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he had asked President Vladimir Putin for Russia to stand aside in Syria and let Turkey fight Syrian government forces alone, after last week’s killing of its soldiers.
“We went there because we were invited by the people of Syria,” Erdogan said. “We don’t intend to leave before the people of Syria say, ‘Okay, this is done.’”