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Drone Wars: Middle East Edition

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Iran, if Israel is concerned, is busy producing nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, drones and little else.

On May 23rd, nine people were wounded in an explosion at a factory in the city of Shahin Shahr in the central Iranian province of Isfahan.

According to Iranian state media, the factory produces industrial and commercial explosive materials, including fireworks and gunpowder, as well as various chemicals. The factory operates under the supervision of the National Security Council.

Meanwhile, Amichai Stein, a correspondent for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, claimed that Iran was manufacturing drones at the facility. It is not a speculative conclusion to consider that Stein’s words suggest that the blast at the Iranian factory could be the result of Israeli “interference”. The journalist linked the explosion to a recent incident, in which the Israeli military shot down an armed drone near the city of Beit She’an. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of launching it from either Iraq or Syria.

In Syria, also on May 23rd, other unidentified combat drones carried out a series of strikes on the outskirts of the town of al-Bukamal in southern Deir Ezzor. The town is held by Damascus’ forces and it is right next to the Iraqi border. The strikes destroyed a number of newly-built hangars in al-Hamdan desert. The strikes didn’t result in any human losses.

A day earlier, an unidentified combat drone targeted a pickup vehicle to the east of al-Bukamal, inside Iraqi territory. Israel and the US were both blamed by Iraqi sources. No casualties were reported.

ISIS is still quite active near and inside Deir Ezzor, but drone attacks by the terrorist group are uncommon.

In the days leading up to the drone raid, ISIS carried out a series of attacks on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces.

The first one happened on May 18th, and eight SAA soldiers and pro-government fighters were reportedly killed in an ambush by ISIS cells in the Maskanah desert in southern Aleppo.

On May 20th, terrorists attacked a position of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Durihim desert in the southern countryside of Aleppo.

May 22nd saw ISIS attack a convoy of tankers moving oil from northeastern Syria to government-held areas near al-Manakhir in southern Raqqa.

On the same day, three pro-government fighters were reportedly killed in the Ma’adan desert in southern Raqqa after being struck with an IED.

Syria is looking to contain the terrorists, and active negotiations with Iran are on-going on the matter, as well as on other security issues. This includes Israel, which is vehemently attempting to stop any active cooperation between Syria and its allies.

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