A 7.62 mm FAL rifle, jerry-rigged into a remote-controlled long-range sniper rifle.
The vast majority of the Syrian rebels’ weapons come from the regular army’s stocks. The rebels use everything they can get their hands on — ranging from ammunition and weapons to vehicles — and modify the equipment to fit their needs. An activist who lives in the Al-Khalidiya neighbourhood in Homs, which has been under siege by president Bashar al-Assad’s forces for the last several months, explains how they do it.
Syrian rebels have been fighting for more than two years against one of the region’s best-equipped and trained armies. Arming the rebels is at the centre of all discussions between the Syrian opposition and its international allies. The rebels are currently getting funding from Gulf states and local sponsors that allows them to buy weapons on the black market, but the majority of their equipment is captured from the Syrian Army during combat.
Portability is key
A 120-mm heavy mortar from the Soviet Union, atop a 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser. Aleppo, Al Zahra neighbourhood, May 5, 2013. In this case, the rebels crafted the mortar rounds themselves. This method of equipping vehicles facilitates the rebels’ rapid deployment and retreat.
A Grad rocket-launch system. Hama Rif, May 1, 2013. Grad rockets are typically sent using multiple BM21, 122mm rocket launchers with 40 tubes. In this video, rebels are using only one launching tube. Hezbollah and Hamas have also used this technique, both to improve mobility and to improve their range.
Grad multiple rocket launchers using 14 locally-made tubes.
A tractor-towed anti-aircraft gun
A Soviet-made 57 mm anti-aircraft gun pulled by a tractor. In this video, rebels are using the anti-aircraft gun in a ground fight against combatants loyal to Al-Assad’s regime. Qusayr, Homs region, May 2, 2013.
A “remote-controlled rifle” created by an engineer rebel
A 7.62 mm FAL rifle, jerry-rigged into a long-range sniper rifle that can be remote-controlled. A young engineer-turned-rebel optimised his rifle by adding on a viewfinder connected to a webcam. Kouiress, March 27, 2013.
Locally-made remote-controlled anti-aircraft gun affixed to a 4x4. Deir-Ezzor, August 10, 2012.
Rocket launcher and locally-made rockets mounted on a 4x4 Land Rover. Kurdish Jabal, April 18, 2013.