Bellingcat

Monday, 16 July 2012

First Video Evidence Of The Free Syrian Army Using Tanks To Attack The Syrian Army

This video has been sent to me by HamaEcho which to knowledge is the first video showing the FSA using a tank to attack the Syrian army, in this instance in Rastan
According to the text below the video (translation by sherbalkis) the action was carried out by Hamza Brigades commanded by First Lieutenant Ibrahim Ayoub as a response to an attack on Altrimssh mosque and the events in Tremseh.  Their statements claims they captured the tank after an attack on checkpoint at a house owned by a Dr. Mahmoud Tlass Farzat which had been occupied by shabiha, killing 12 men.  After capturing the tank they proceeded to attack a building they claim is used as a checkpoint by shabiha and security forces, killing 30
The statement claims a further 5 Syrian soldiers were killed in the operations.  They also state no Free Syrian Army members were killed in the attacks. I've previously posted about the Al-Farouq brigade's tanks and having spoken to activists my understanding is the Hamza brigades and Al-Farouq brigades work together, but it's unclear if the use of this take is part of a wider escalation by those groups.  The tank pictured in the video appears to be a T-62.
To my knowledge this is the first time the FSA have been filmed using tanks in combat, and it's hard to know if this was a decision made on the day after capturing the tank, or a shift in tactics among the FSA in Rastan.  It seems that after the apparent success it may be likely we'll see more tanks being used by the FSA in Rastan.

Update July 20th Further footage of tanks in action in the same area has been posted showing one tank in action being hit by fire from Assad's forces, and another tank being destroyed, killing some of the crew.


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7 comments:

  1. Good video. This is a T-62 tank, by the way. Big difference in capability between the two.

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    1. Ah, good spot, I counted 6 wheels, and double checking it's actually 5. Today we learn I cannot count.
      I usually use this blog as a quick reference guide
      http://board-temporary.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/rough-guide-to-syrias-tanks.html

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  2. The FSA used a tank in Al Quseyr before( I think it was in a documentary on the guardian website or the telegraph).

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    1. Was that a tank or an IFV/armoured car, like a BMP or BRDM?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMP-1
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRDM-2

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  3. i remember a video which several uniformed defectors (covering their faces with kafiyeh) using their tank (T-series) to attack syrian army last year.

    funny thing is, i never see any copy of it in youtube. the original has been deleted.

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  4. Watching this video I was quite impressed by the precision of the tank fire. Also the way video "documentation" seems to be integrated in the operation struck me as remarkable.

    (all this under the condition that the building was actually occupied by government forces and not a staged target).

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    1. With military service, Syria is a very militarised nation. Most of the men in the FSA will have done national service, including in armoured regiments. Hence the ability to drive and operate tanks and their weapons. Having said that, it is not a big challenge to hit a static target in daylight from almost point-blank, in tank terms.

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