first published on May 15, 2018 by Sean
From SVBIED to plain old VBIED – So-called Islamic State militants trapped in southern Damascus change tactics to a less suicidal, though likely more pragmatic method of urban fighting. It’s a strange jihadist world when the decision to not have your fighters commit suicide is the exception, and not the rule.
A video purportedly taking place in southern Damascus somewhere near the Yarmouk refugee camp details a daesh attack against an unidentified foe. A now typical sight, a large SVBIED lumbers down a Syrian road laden with explosives and towards a large residential block of multi-storied apartment buildings.
A daesh support-by-fire position covers the SVBIED’s advance. Consisting of several clucking snackbars and the cameraman, they engage targets in the opposing buildings.
The SVBIED quickly arrives unmolested at its target in an alley between two buildings. However, unlike hundreds of other instances in the Syrian civil war, the jihadist abandons his mobile bomb and retreats on foot.
With the driver now evacuated to a safe distance, we subtract the “S” and the bomb becomes just a VBIED. Technical hairs split, it detonates in a massive fireball that wholly collapses the front faces of both adjacent buildings.
Having thoroughly shaken the entire neighborhood with the massive bomb, daesh militants equipped with ladders quickly rush to assault the dilapidated apartment building.
The video concludes as the jihadists are just making entry into the building and scampering up the flimsy ladders to the second story.
The reason for noting this seemingly innocuous change in tactics – not wasting lives in twisted suicide attacks but allowing them to fight another day – is that it may be foretelling of the final remnants of daesh in central Syria. When daesh was at its height, they had thousands of willing volunteers ready to blow themselves up in the name of extremism. Fast-forward to today, and their fighters have been so reduced that they simply can’t afford to throw them away so frivolously.
Of course, maybe this guy just said, “screw it” and bailed…