The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, together with the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been training Russian drone pilots to operate Iranian-made attack drones, according to reports in Ukrainian media on Monday.
The flight training is said to be taking place at the Shayrat Airbase in Syria, roughly 28 kilometers (17 miles) southwest of the city of Homs, according to the reports, citing Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (GUR).
The military airport has served the Russian Air Force since 2015, when Moscow entered the Syrian Civil War on the side of the Assad regime.
Ever since Russia began the war with Ukraine, it has extensively imported Iranian drones and made domestic copies to keep up its intensive campaign against Ukrainian positions and towns.
As part of the training program, Russian pilots are reportedly being taught to fly the Iranian Shahed-136 and Ababil-3 UAVs, as well as the Raad remote-controlled aircraft.
According to GUR, the training is being led by senior Hezbollah commander Kamal Abu Sadiq, a specialist in manufacturing and maintaining drones.
In addition to the Russian pilots, Syrian mercenaries – recruited to fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine – are reportedly being trained to use the Iranian-produced attack drones, according to a GUR report last week, suggesting that Russia has been systematically recruiting Syrian mercenaries to boost its forces fighting in Ukraine.
“The recruitment of Syrians for the war indicates a deterioration in the moral and psychological state of the Russian occupation forces due to large-scale losses and the need to replenish them for further mass assaults,” GUR said in a statement, according to a report by the Kyiv Post.
The initial group of some 1,000 mercenaries is said to have begun training near the city of Aleppo and are expected to be transported to another Russian airbase in Syria, Khmeimim, before being transferred to Russia, where the mercenaries will receive their Russian passports before joining the war.
Hezbollah in Lebanon has been known to use Iranian-made weapons for decades, including in its wars against Israel, and has presumably developed proficiency in its use.
Since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, Hezbollah terror forces have launched dozens of drones against Israeli targets, killing and wounding several civilians, as well as IDF soldiers.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.