Friday 22 March 2013

State TV Shows MANPADS And French MILAN AT Missiles Captured From Syrian Opposition Fighters

The below video from Syrian State TV shows various weapons and ammunition reportedly captured from opposition fighters in the Hama region.

Among the dozens of large mortar rounds, thousands of bullets, and various heavy machine guns a few items stand out.  On the less unusual side of things we see a pair of Metis-M missile tubes, a wire-guided anti-tank system which hasn't been an uncommon sight in the conflict, and is part of the Syrian army's arsenal

What's far more interesting are the items in this shot

To the right there are two SA-7 MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defence Systems), minus the grip-stocks required to operate both systems.  While not an unusual sight in the conflict, this is the first time I've seen any MANPADS captured and shown on State TV.  The three large tubes with the octagonal ends are something much more interesting, the first examples that I've seen of French MILAN anti-tank missiles in Syria.  While the quality of the video is quite poor I've numbered the two following images to demonstrate 7 matching features on both the items shown in the video and a reference image of a MILAN missile

1 - The octagonal end piece.
2 - Dark red stripe.
3 - Yellow triangle.
4 - Yellow arrow.
5 - Handle.
6 - Yellow text.
7 - Circular symbol.

When most followers of the various Arab Spring conflicts think of MILAN missiles they will probably think of the MILAN AT missiles provided to the Libyan rebels by Qatar, and seeing the same types of missiles apparently appearing in the possession of the Syrian opposition will also probably make them think about reports of Libyan arms being sent to Syria.  However, it's important to understand that not only does the Syrian military use MILAN missiles, but so do many other countries in the region, including Syria's neighbours Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey, so although it's the first sighting of these weapons in the conflict that I'm aware of, it cannot be assumed these are being provided the the opposition from abroad.

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