linkedin twitter facebook github pinterest left right up down youtube instagram email menu close

Suicide Drone Attacks in Northwest Syria: A New Threat to Civilians

Escalating suicide drone attacks threaten civilians in northwest Syria in a flagrant disregard for human life and a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.

Since the beginning of 2024, the White Helmets have documented a concerning pattern of suicide drone attacks in northwest Syria, originating from areas controlled by Syrian regime forces. These attacks have primarily targeted the countryside of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo, extending as far as 9 kilometers beyond the frontlines.

The impact on civilians has been severe, with nearly half of the attacks targeting vehicles, resulting in three deaths and 18 injuries, including women and children. Beyond the immediate loss of life and property damage, these attacks threaten the livelihoods of thousands, exacerbating the already dire situation in a region crippled by over a decade of war compounded by catastrophic 2023 earthquakes.

Suicide drones, also known as Kamikaze drones, are unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with explosives that crash into their targets. Their usage is difficult to track as the drones are destroyed upon impact. The White Helmets’ Sentry program, which provides early warnings of aerial threats, has recorded a significant increase in drone activity, particularly during late morning and evening hours.

From January to April 2024, the White Helmets responded to 41 suicide drone attacks, with a noticeable rise in incidents each month. These attacks have affected 21 villages, placing around 70,000 civilians, including 22,000 displaced persons, at risk. The Al-Ghab Plain in Hama has been the most heavily targeted area.

These attacks have not only taken lives but have also disrupted daily activities, with roads, agricultural fields, and homes being the primary targets. The psychological trauma and economic damage inflicted on communities are profound, as people continue to face new threats on top of existing hardships.

The White Helmets call for international attention and regulation to address the use of suicide drones in conflicts. We highlight the need for compliance with international humanitarian law to protect civilians and prevent further suffering. The relatively low cost and ease of deploying these drones for precise attacks make them a dangerous tool in the hands of those willing to use them indiscriminately against civilian populations.

Download the full report: 👇