Most of the Iranian drones over Syria were downed by Israel,US, intelligence sources say

By Thomson Reuters Apr 14, 2024 | 4:11 AM

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Most of the Iranian drones flying over Syria’s airspace during Tehran’s strikes overnight were downed by Israeli and U.S. jets before reaching their targets in Israel, two Western intelligence sources said on Sunday.

They told Reuters the aerial interceptions shot down dozens of missiles and drones fired by Iran that flew above southern Syria in the Deraa province, the Syrian Golan Heights and several locations in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq.

U.S. air defences operated from the U.S. base in al-Tanf, as well as along the Jordanian border and in eastern Syria, where Washington maintains hundred of troops in several air bases, one source said.

He could not confirm whether U.S. military aircraft and defence destroyers deployed in the Middle East were used in what he described as a “highly prepared” response based on accurate intelligence on both the timing of Iran’s retaliation and its scope, using a swarm of drones and missiles.

Iran launched its attack in response to a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

The Pantsir air defence systems that Iran operates from several air bases inside Syria were ineffective in downing any Israeli aircraft, both sources added, without giving further details.

A regional intelligence source said U.S. air defences also helped Jordan to down at least a dozen drones and missiles that were flying over the country towards Jerusalem.

Iranian drones that came from the direction of Iraq and flew over southern Jordan and the city of Aqaba that were heading to Israel’s Eilat port were also intercepted, he added.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alex Richardson and Sharon Singleton)