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June 15-21, 2023 | Issue 19 - CENTCOM and Weapons/Tactics

Agathe Labadi, Arnold R. Koka, Sonia Savci, Virginia Martos Blanco

Álvaro Picón, Editor; Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor

Flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) [1]

Date: June 16, 2023

Location: Jordan

Parties involved: Jordan; Royal Jordanian Army; Jordanian government; Syria; units of the Syrian Army; Syrian traffickers; pro-Iranian militias

The event: The Jordanian army has shot down a drone transporting weapons from Syria. This is the second drone from Syria that Jordan shot down in a week, with the first one allegedly smuggling Syrian amphetamines to the Gulf region. Jordan accused pro-Iranian militias of smuggling drugs across the border with the support of the units of the Syrian army.[2] Since last year, smuggling activities have grown along the border with Syria, forcing Jordan to increase its military involvement to secure the border.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Jordanian government will very likely increase border patrols with additional counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) to disrupt drone-enabled smuggling activities on its border with Syria. Procurement will likely focus on high-resolution thermal cameras, drone-detection radars, short-range relocatable air defense technologies, and electronic warfare systems to disrupt the drones’ command and control links. The government will likely purchase off-the-shelf, flexible, deployable systems to maximize their availability and use along the border.

  • Syrian traffickers involved in cross-border arms trafficking will likely leverage their drones, weapons, and ammunition stocks to continue with their illicit arms and drug trade activities. The groups will likely adopt tactics to distract border patrols and saturate counter-UAV systems. Syrian traffickers will likely diversify their smuggling tactics, simultaneously launching multiple small commercial drones to overwhelm Jordanian air and border protection capabilities, reducing the chances of getting shot down.

Date: June 19, 2023

Location: Jenin, West Bank

Parties involved: Israel; Israel Defense Forces (IDF); Israel Border Police; Palestinian civilians; Palestinian militants; Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ); PIJ militants; Hamas; Hamas high-level official Jamal Abu al-Hija’s son

The event: During an IDF evacuation operation, an Israeli Apache combat helicopter fired missiles and deployed flares against Palestinian militants in Jenin. It is the first strike of this kind since the 2002 Intifada. The operation sought to evacuate IDF and Border Police units who had entered the city to arrest two wanted Palestinians, including Jamal Abu al-Hija’s son, and encountered a large live-fire response from local PIJ militants. During the clashes, Palestinian militants stroke an IDF vehicle with a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) and gunfire. The confrontation left five Palestinians dead, 91 wounded, as well as eight IDF troops injured.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The IDF will likely use combat helicopters, including AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk systems, to strike targets during the early escalation phases within ground-based operations, likely lowering the threshold for larger confrontations. The IDF will very likely support the use of these helicopters with combined electronic warfare (EW) operations for jamming Palestinian air-defense systems to ensure the aircraft’s security. There is a roughly even chance that Israel will combine combat manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to loiter and strike targets in escalation scenarios to maximize reaction speed.

  • There is a roughly even chance the event will drive Hamas to support a PIJ’s retaliation against IDF troops. Hamas will likely refrain from directly providing PIJ militants with weaponry, likely avoiding an imminent escalation. Hamas will likely choose covert tactics to back PIJ militants' offensive, such as sharing intelligence related to IDF troops' positions to enable future attacks. Hamas will likely favor PIJ’s future use of roadside IEDs and small arms and light weapons (SALW), including anti-tank missiles and rockets, against Israeli units.


[2]Jordan says it downs second drone from Syria this week, Reuters, June 2023,

[4] 5 Palestinians dead, 8 IDF troops hurt in Jenin battle; Apache carries out airstrikes, The Times of Israel, June 2023,



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