Terrorist Use of Drones Growing at Significant Rate
The use of drones by terrorist and rebel groups has grown significantly since 2014. The first terrorist videos showing video footage from drones began appearing in May 2014. IntelCenter tracked nine releases that year. In 2015 it jumped more than four times to 37 and is on track to increase that again by four times in 2016. As of 21 Nov. 2016, there have been 133 releases in 2016. There has been a 454% increase over the same period in 2015.
The type of footage being released by the groups has also significantly evolved from basic aerial shots to the observation and apparent coordination of indirect fire, VBIED attacks, armored assaults and more. Drone footage is also being used to shoot aftermath footage, show captured territory and more. The first footage of a drone being used to conduct an attack by dropping bombs was released in a Jund al-Aqsa video from Syria on 2 Sep. 2016. The full video can be viewed in the IntelCenter Database (ICD) at Video ID# 7810.
Syria has been the dominate country where drones are being used with 108 videos released showing drones being used there. Iraq came in second at 53. Libya came in at nine and Yemen at five. Afghanistan is the newest addition with two in 2016. All countries are expected to see significant increases. In Egypt, still photos from drone usage have been released and video footage is expected to be seen soon.
Fifteen different groups have released videos showing their use of drones. Core Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria dominates the usage. It released 84 videos showing its use of drones from 2014 to 21 Nov. 2016. In addition, two of its wilayats in Libya have released another five and a wilayat in Yemen released one. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah, is the next biggest user at 62.
Other terrorist and rebel groups that have been tracked using drone footage in their videos are Ahrar al-Sham, Ansar al-Sharia Arabian Peninsula, Ansar al-Sharia Brigade (Libya), Jund al-Aqsa, Majlis Shura Mujahidi Darnah, Sham Falcons Brigade, Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Muhajirun, Taliban and Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP).
All of the videos covered in the report are available for viewing along with additional reporting and original source materials in the IntelCenter Database (ICD). Sign up for a free 10-day trial of the ICD and see additional details by clicking here.
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