Saturday 8 March 2014

ISIS Deploys Croatian Weapons Against The Iraqi Army

In early 2013, Saudi Arabia began smuggling weapons it had purchased from the Croatian government through Jordan to the south of Syria, to forces loyal to the Free Syrian Army.  At the time, videos posted by the Syrian opposition showed a number of weapons coming into the south of Syria, including RBG-6 grenade launchers, M60 recoilless guns, RPG-22 rocket launchers, and M79 Osa rocket launchers.  In March 2013, videos began to appear showing these weapons appearing with groups outside of the FSA, including Jihadists such as Ahrar al-Sham, and images posted today show these weapons have now spread even further afield.

A series of images were posted on Twitter by the account Alanbar_news, an account used by the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, with the @Alanbar_news account covering their operations in Al Anbar Governorate of Iraq.  The images show their operations against US-made armoured vehicles belonging to the Iraqi army (collected here), and one image in particular stood out

This photograph appears to show a M79 Osa, as supplied to the Free Syrian Army at the start of 2013, being used to attack Iraqi armoured vehicles inside Iraq.  The following image compares the M79 Osa to what's visible in the above photograph

Another recent photograph from ISIS shows a fighter with what appears to be a Croatian RBG-6 grenade launcher

These weapons are not used in the region (apart from those supplied to the Free Syrian Army), so it seems extremely likely these weapons are the same ones purchased from Croatia, by Saudi Arabia, and smuggled through Jordan.  Now, despite the best intentions of those who were involved with providing these weapons to the Free Syrian Army, these weapons are being used to attack Iraqi government forces inside Iraq, a clear indication that attempts to control the spread of weapons beyond the borders of Syria and the groups that initially received them has failed in a spectacular fashion.  This raises serious questions when there's talk of providing the opposition in Syria with Chinese FN-6 MANPADS (surface-to-air missiles), especially when these Croatian weapons have ended up in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Thanks to @ShamiWitness for highlighting these photographs, and Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi for additional information.


  1. Based on practical experience Robert Fisk of The Independent nailed this one from the start. Sad we repeat failed policies again and again.

  2. LOL brown Moses highlighting dangers of captured weapons yet neglects to Mention the capture of the Abrams tank lol

    in all seriousness in wars like this few weapons are going to fall in the hands of the enemy especially small arms which should be considered except able

    plenty of videos of Assad capturing them that's OK though right

  3. Shamefully short sighted CIA operations that result in tearing down the work that was bought with the blood of American soldiers.

  4. Rune: "repeat failed policies", and Stranger: "hands of the enemy" is a bit naive. For the CIA's support of arms sales, the more of these enemies, the better. The only real enemies are arms trade restrictions and foreign arms manufacturers. Alexander Severns: "blood of American soldiers" is normally used to whip up public hysteria to support more arms sales. Win, win, win.

  5. War is obviously not a risk-free enterprise, so many things are possible. But this piece seems to be running ahead of itself. We don't know how many of these weapons have made it across the border into Iraq nor how they made their way there. They have been readily available on the international arms market, for example. Nor are there any clear implications for the supply of further weapons. Whether or not Ahrar Ash-Sham is "jihadist ( and the lexicon is very slippery here) it is clearly not very pally with ISIS - the only likely conduit into Iraq.

  6. it is a matter of fighting between the muslims, but being fueled by the whites namely the american alignment and the others russian alignment, mainly because of oil reserve countries, who to monopolise the oil fields. when all the oil is out there, neither americans nor russians will support any of the gulf countries.