(Damascus) The Syrian Army has been the main force fighting terrorists, jihadis and other rebel belligerent factions on the ground over the past eight years of conflict. Shedding light on the military aspect might help one conceptualise a broader vision and a clearer picture of the massive arsenal of weaponry which has regrettably been used in the Syria war, by all parties involved, left right and centre.
The US-led coalition that was theoretically formed in order to remove the presence of ISIS from Syria has directed a good deal of its military and intelligence operations against the Syrian Army itself as well as a number of civilian areas, killing hundreds and injuring thousands of innocent villagers and ordinary citizens who had nothing to do with politics of the conflict.
The US army deployed Tomahawk cruise missiles, from thousands of kilometers away, at least twice, to target Al Shuayrat strategic airbase in central Syria, as well as premises of the Syrian Centre for Research in suburban Damascus. Whereas American and other coalition members have to resorted mainly to aerial bombardment using F 35s, F 15s, and F16 jetfighters from regional bases as well as US aircraft carriers in both the Mediterranean ad Red Sea.
In addition, the US has deployed Chinook, Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, as well multipurpose drones during its intervention in the Syrian war. The remaining 2000 US troops in Syria deploy a range of M113s, AAVPs and LAVs; armoured vehicles, amphibious and personnel carriers, towed artillery as well as a range of personal rifles, sniper guns, hand-held rocket and grenade launchers.
Israel has launched scores of air raids and rocket attacks in Syria over the past few years using more or less, the same US aircraft, jets and weaponry.
Last month, Israel Hayom confessed that Israel fired, for the first time, advanced Rampage stand-off-air-to-surface missiles against targets in Syria.
An Israeli F35, and another F 16 were shot down by Syrian air defence missiles, the SAM 200 modified by Syrian researchers, the latter on Feb 12 of 2018; an incident that shock the Israeli air force and changed rules of engagement following the downing of the jewel in the crown of Israeli thereto unstoppable air supremacy. The recent deployment of S300 anti-aircraft batteries in Syria meant the near-impossibility of any enemy aircraft entering Syrian airspace.
Turkey has been directly intervening in the Syria war from the very beginning. In June of 2012 a Turkish air force F4 Phantom jet was shot down over the Mediterranean by a Syrian anti-aircraft battery off the cost of Latakia. The 2 Turkish pilot who ejected into the sea were both killed in the accident. This has not stopped Ankara from further intervention in support of its subordinate militias, mainly the so-called Free Syrian Army. Turkish forces on the ground, in some 10 observation posts inside Syria, as well as in the occupied city of Afrin, have been deploying
Leopard, Altay tanks, M113, ACV 15, Ejder and Kirpi APCs, M109s and M110 and other heavy artillery. Turkish Cobra helicopter gunships, F4s, F15s and F16 fighter jets have also been involved.
Moreover, Turkey has been deploying drones a range its own versions of both attack and surveillance drones, mainly Anka (Phoenix) and Bayraktar TB2 tactical combat UAVs, to carry out operations in Syria, mainly against YPG, the Kurdish separatist militia Ankara sees as the Syria arm of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK. Turkish heavy artillery has pounded Kurdish bases, forces and villages across the Syrian borders on numerous occasions.
ISIS/ISIL, Al Nusra (Syria version of al Qaeda) and other rebel groups have a wide range of weaponry at their disposal, financed mainly by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In addition to light personal AK47s, M16s and other NATO-used rifles, guns and snipers, RPG launchers and mortar guns of various calibers those militias possess an array of anti-tank missiles such as the infamous NATO version of the TOW missile, shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles; MANPADS including American Stingers and Chinese FN-6s and QW-2s.
Although ISIS, Al Nusra and other Jihadi terrorists have at their disposal scores of US-made M1 Abrams and Russian-made tanks captured by terrorists in Iraq and Syria, as well as Hammers and Humvees, their most common, and may be preferred lethal weapon has been suicide bombers, massive explosive booby-trapped cars, trucks and armoured personnel carriers. In operations such as the suicide attack which targeted Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo in 2013, one of the largest and most modern hospitals in the region, the suicide bomber detonated a truck laden with over 20 tons of TNT explosive, a mini nuclear explosion!