Sunday 21 October 2012

The Syrian Opposition's Latest Missiles and Rockets

In the last couple of weeks there's been much written about the Syrian military's latest escalation, the use of cluster bombs, but at the same time the Syrian armed opposition* appears to have been having an escalation of their own.  Aside from increased sightings and the apparent use of SA-7 surface to air missiles by the armed opposition, as reported by CJ Chivers in the New York Times At War Blog, there's also been a sudden increase in videos showing two other kinds of weapons being used.

Type 63 multiple rocket launcher

In recent weeks a number of videos have been posted from locations across Syria, including Hama, Rastan, Idlib, and Lattakia, showing truck mounted Type 63 multiple rocket launchers being used by the armed opposition. Type 63s are generally towed rocket launcher, firing 107mm rockets, manufactured in China, but licensed for manufacture in a number of other countries, including Iran and Turkey.  With a range of 8km it would be one of the longest range weapons in the armed opposition's armoury, and the below video from 7:20 shows an example of the launchers being captured by the armed opposition

9K115-2 Metis-M

The 9K115-2 Metis-M (NATO reporting name AT-13 Saxhorn-2) is a Russian anti-tank missile system, with a 2km and SACLOS wire guided targeting system.  While the system has been spotted on very rare occasion before in Syria, notably an air base attack in March 2012, it appears in the last two weeks there's been a sudden increase in videos showing the systems, for example this video and this video from Idlib, and the below example from Hama, showing the missile being fired, and apparently hitting it's target

The Syrian Army's vehicle's wouldn't stand much of a chance against these system, especially with their range compared to the RPG rockets they are used to going up against, so if their use becomes widespread it seems likely the Syrian Army will face a great number of tank loses.

* Personally I prefer the term Syrian armed opposition as it covers all armed groups, and I feel the term "FSA" is now rather inaccurate as some armed groups in Syria aren't part of the actual Free Syrian Army, and "rebels" wouldn't accurately reflect the presence of foreign fighters, many of which are Jihadists, in Syria.

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  1. What about the new joint command that FSA is claiming to have?

    1. It's joint for everyone who wants to be part of the FSA, but there's plenty of other groups who have said they won't be joining.