Published on: Nov 12, 2018 @ 16:22 – Where do the weapons used by extremists in Syria, in their clashes against government troops and different factions, come from? FRN received the opinion of expert Andrei Kots who lists the most important and unexpected armaments of his arsenal.
It is clear that any international armed conflict involving more than two sides soon becomes a sort of “exhibition” of armaments and equipment of different producers, since all major geopolitical players usually support their allies and proxies – that is, third forces used in an indirect conflict.
A Look Back
In November 2015, when Syrian army units were engaged in harsh fighting against the al-Nusra Front in Latakia province, the military was stunned by an armored vehicle facing them. It was a strange tank, which had nothing to do with the Soviet T-family tanks, which were the core of the armored armory of the terrorists.
At the time, having made only a few shots, the car was eliminated by a T-72 from the government troops. Later, when the Russian and Syrian specialists inspected the vehicle, it turned out to be an old British Centurion MK 3 tank, produced in the 1950’s. The first modification of the vehicle was made even in World War II!
The third series of these tanks with QF 20 pounder cannons of 83.8 mm was small – only 700 units. Meanwhile, the vehicles of this series have come to participate in the fighting in the Middle East and in numerous Arab-Israeli conflicts, as well as in the Iran-Iraq War.
The Centurion MK 3 that ended up in the hands of the terrorists of the Al-Nusra Front came from Jordan, which had bought about 300 tanks of this type.
Armored groups for the Kurds
It is not often that armed groups in Syria use modern NATO armored vehicles – with the exception of those parts openly supported by Washington and Brussels, for example the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which actively use US, German and Belgian produced weapons as well as transport vehicles produced in western countries, including the newest armored heavy Cougar.
Some of the photos taken during the Syrian conflict saw a modification of the Badger infantry combat vehicle, which the Americans have been using to arm the Iraqi army since 2007. There were two variants of this armored: four- and six-wheeled, capacity for 10 and 16 combatants, respectively. It has a shielded compartment that effectively protects the crew from home-made mine explosions and firearm attacks with calibres of up to 12.7 mm.
The military of Syria often seize StG 44 Sturmgewehr assault rifles, used by the Nazis in the period between 1943 1945.
At the beginning of the civil conflict, some groups of the armed opposition invaded the warehouses in Aleppo, where they were 5,000 units of these rifles. At the time, they spread throughout Syria, but in a variant modified in an amateurish way. The militants even installed Picatinny rails on them to mount telescopic sights and tried to make many other very strange changes, which would probably make German builder Hugo Schmeisser very surprised.
However, it is not the existence of these rifles in the Middle East that leaves the author of the text shocked, since the Germans produced almost half a million of these weapons, which later were supplied to two dozen countries. What is striking is that the production of 7.92 × 1.3 mm caliber ammunition stopped in 1945. It seems that the Germans were heavily invested in this weapon and manufactured such ammunition that it has reached almost 80 years!
We have long been talking about the mobile missile systems that would be in service for the militants in Syria. This assumption was confirmed on February 3 this year, when a Su-25 fighter bomber was shot down by a missile in Idlib province. To date it is unclear what kind of weapon it was. According to one version, it would have been a modification of the Chinese HY-6 system.
China exported this weaponry to several countries – Malaysia, Cambodia, Peru, Pakistan and some units would have ended up in the hands of terrorists. The missile system is capable of eliminating aerial targets at altitudes between 500 and 5,000 meters. The range is 500 to 5,000 meters in the distance and between 15 meters and 3.5 kilometers in altitude.