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story.lead_photo.caption Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan salutes his supporters at a technology fair in Istanbul, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Erdogan expressed frustration with what he said was the United States' continued support to Syrian Kurdish forces that Turkey regards as terrorists and reiterated that Turkey had completed all preparations for a possible unilateral military operation in northeast Syria, along the Turkish border east of the Euphrates River.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian authorities on Saturday captured and dismantled a drone rigged with cluster bombs near the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.

The news agency gave no further details about the drone but posted several photos of the unmanned aerial vehicle.

Israel frequently conducts airstrikes and missile attacks inside war-torn Syria but rarely confirms them. Israel says it targets mostly bases of Iranian forces and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said it was not clear if Syrian troops or Hezbollah had downed the drone. Hezbollah has members in Syria who are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad's forces.

The incident came two days after another drone was destroyed over Aqraba, a suburb of the capital, Damascus. That's the same suburb where an Israeli airstrike killed two Hezbollah operatives last month.

No one claimed ownership of either of the drones.

In neighboring Lebanon, a government investigation concluded Thursday that two Israeli drones were on an attack mission when they crashed in the capital last month, one of them armed with 10 pounds of explosives.

In another development from Syria's war, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday expressed frustration with what he said was the United States' continued support for Syrian Kurdish militants.

Speaking to reporters before his departure for United Nations meetings in New York, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey had completed all preparations for a possible unilateral military operation in northeast Syria, along the Turkish border east of the Euphrates River.

Last month, Turkey and the United States agreed to take steps toward establishing a so-called safe zone in the area that would keep U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces away from Turkey's border. Turkey has warned that it will not allow the U.S. to delay the establishment of the safe zone and has threatened to launch an operation on its own within two weeks.

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters -- who battled the Islamic State militant group alongside U.S. forces -- to be "terrorists" because of their links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

"We have no wish of confronting the United States," Erdogan said. "However, we don't have the luxury of ignoring the support that the United States is giving terrorist organizations in an area where it was not invited to be."

Erdogan said he would discuss the issue if he meets with President Donald Trump in New York.

Turkey conducted two operations into northern Syria in 2016 and 2018 to clear the areas of Islamic State extremists and the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militias.

A Section on 09/22/2019

Print Headline: Syria: Drone nabbed near Golan Heights

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