first published on April 26, 2017 by Josh
One thing we have seen the Syrian Arab Army fail to do on multiple occasions is avoid ATGM strikes. It seems as if every area of operations they enter, they are absolutely ravaged by wire guided missile systems meant to destroy armored vehicles. These missiles aren’t only hitting tanks however, they are hitting unarmored vehicles, troops in the open, and even singular soldiers that present themselves as targets of opportunity. Being devastated by these weapons is an absolute norm for members of the Syrian Arab Army, and to this day we have yet to see them develop any sort of tactics, techniques, or procedures to defeat the use of these weapon systems against their troops in the field.
For members of the Islamic State, Extremist Rebels, and the Free Syrian Army, these weapon systems are the great equalizer on the battlefield. Considering many of these rebel fighters are too untrained to actually use a sniper rifle, a wire guided missile gets the same job done with much less training required. We saw the rise of these weapon systems after members of the Free Syrian Army’s Thirteenth Coastal Division used TOW missiles supplied by the Central Intelligence Agency to dominate the Assad Regime on multiple fronts. After their videos were released, it seems like every rebel in Syria rushed to the nearest black market to buy anything that even remotely resembles a TOW missile, and for good reason. The SAA can’t seem to stop them.
The Syrian Arab Army could potentially defeat this ever-present threat in their areas with just a little bit of due diligence on their part. Simple defensive infantry tactics like constant presence patrols to continue securing areas that they have captured could prevent the infiltration of these ATGM teams into their areas. Also, they could do a little bit better with their posturing when going firm or operating out of a forward operating base by establishing guardian angel positions and solid posts. These positions, if manned even halfway properly, would give the SAA troops an early warning system for incoming missiles that are often fired from 2 or 3 kilometers away from their intended target.
We probably won’t see the Syrian Arab Army doing any of this however, because they are one of the least professional militarizes on the face of the planet. Part of this stems from a majority of the troops being conscripted into service during a time of heavy war, and the other part of it comes from their total lack of awareness and training when they are in the field. Until the Syrian Arab Army learns to act like proper soldiers, we will continue to see them being destroyed by ATGMs of all makes and models. For the time being, all we can do is collect the footage, and ensure that our own troops are prepared for when they have to deal with these exact same weapon systems on the battlefield, as they have proven to be a new favorite of extremist forces.