Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Syrian Army Equipment in Deir Ezzor

This is a compilation of various arms and equipment seen in use around Deir Ezzor over the past year. With armored vehicle losses mounting, and the airbase inaccessible to large aircraft, the SAA will be more reliant on these weapons. Only helicopters can land at the airbase due to ISIS presence nearby. This means only small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars, and anti-tank missiles can be brought in.

June 2015:

Kord heavy machine gun:

W85 heavy machine gun:

January 2016:


Konkurs ATGM:

M-46 field gun 130mm:

February 2016:


Konkurs ATGM:

AK-74M with GP-25 grenade launcher:

March 2016:


S-60 57mm:

April 2016:


NSV heavy machine gun, originally mounted on T-72:


May 2016:

IRAM improvised rocket:


M79 Osa captured from ISIS:


Konkurs ATGM:


AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher:

120mm and 82mm mortars:

Sayyad-2 .50 cal anti-material rifle:

Friday, May 27, 2016

ISIS HJ-8 Anti-tank Missiles

The HJ-8 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is produced in China and has been exported to many other countries. The HJ-8 is based on technology from other nation's missiles, such as the US TOW and French Milan ATGMs. Some variants of the HJ-8 are capable of defeating explosive reactive armor.

HJ-8s were supplied to Syrian rebels in 2013 by Arab states. Sudan is the likely source of HJ-8s in Syria, paid for and delivered by Qatar. It is important to note that the Syrian army and its allies do not have the HJ-8 in their arsenal.

HJ-8s received by rebels in 2013:

Rebels began making heavy use of the HJ-8 shortly after their delivery. Starting in 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) began using them as well. It is unclear exactly how ISIS acquired them. ISIS either captured large quantities of them, or rebels simply gave some of them away or sold them.

ISIS has used the HJ-8 extensively in the Homs Governorate, but also in the Damascus and Deir Ezzor Governorates. It was heavily used by ISIS in East Homs around Plamyra and Qaryatayn before the Syrian army managed to recapture them. So many missiles were used around East Homs in early 2016 that it seems they may have received/captured more of them just prior to the SAA offensive.

ISIS HJ-8 use in East Homs in 2016:

Notice the protrusion on the front of this missile, designed to defeat Explosive reactive armor:

East Homs, late 2015:

The HJ-8 has also seen use near Damascus:

Notice this HJ-8 variant has no protrusion on the front of the missile, and is therefore not designed to defeat Explosive reactive armor:

The HJ-8 also saw limited use around Deir Ezzor in mid-2015:

ISIS has captured or otherwise acquired a disturbing amount of HJ-8s from "moderate" forces in Syria. The HJ-8 has become one of the Islamic State's most used ATGMs. This is another example of why supplying weapons to insurgents to overthrow Governments is a bad idea. If these images did not give you an idea of the scale of ISIS HJ-8 use, here are spent missile tubes captured by the Syrian army in a single location North of Palmyra...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Syrian Army Armor in Deir Ezzor.

It is unknown how many armored vehicles the Syrian army now has in Deir Ezzor. The following is a compilation of photos collected over the past year. It gives some idea of the amount of armored vehicles they have in the besieged city.

The presence of T-72 TURMS-Ts, T-55MVs, and T-72AVs suggests they are better equipped than most analysts realize. The Syrian army/Republican guard has lost many armored vehicles. During the most recent ISIS offensive, 3 BMP-1s were lost, along with one T-55A and T-72M1 TURMS-T hit by ATGMs. The T-55A that was hit by an ATGM did not cook off, and may therefore be repairable. The aftermath of the hit T-72 was not shown.

June 2015: T-55MV fighting in Al-Sina'a district.

T-55 with spaced armor made of shell casings:

July 2015: T-72M1 TURMS-T, the most modern T-72 variant the SAA/Republican Guard has:

August 2015: T-72 Ural

October 2015: T-72AV

Mid/late 2015: Gvozdika

January 2016: T-72M1


ZSU-23-4 Shilka:

February 2016: T-55


Gvozdika self-propelled gun:

March 2016: ZSU-23-4 Shilka

T-72 Ural:


T-72 with crew:

April 2016: T-72 TURMS-T



May 2016: T-72 TURMS-T



Finally, a Syrian soldier in Deir Ezzor with a PPSh-41. The Soviet WW2 submachine gun back at home in "Stalingrad."