U.S. surveillance drones are operating in Lebanon, according to a Lebanese newspaper.
The UAVs are being flown by U.S. special operations forces to help the “Lebanese Army confront ISIS and other extremist groups entrenched along the northeast border with Syria,” reported The Daily Star.
“To augment the Lebanese Army’s surveillance capabilities in the area, the U.S., at the Defense Ministry’s request, is operating two Aerosonde MK 4.7 unarmed reconnaissance drones out of Hamat air base near Batroun,” said the newspaper, citing unnamed military and diplomatic sources. The Lebanese Army currently has only two Cessna Caravan aircraft to patrol its northeast border with Syria, the Daily Star said.
If true, the surveillance flights come as the U.S. ramps up military aid to the Lebanese Army to bolster its capabilities against ISIS fighters who are operating in Syria. Islamic fighters have occasionally attacked Lebanon in response to Hezbollah forces supporting the Syrian government’s battle against Islamist and more moderate rebels. Meanwhile, Israel — which fears that Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces will join forces to attack northern Israel — maintains UAV flights over Lebanon. Hezbollah has also deployed its own drones.
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