Two new videos suggest that Syria’s rebels are now putting to work their supply — quantity still unknown — of heating-seeking, shoulder-fired anti-aicraft missiles. The At War blog, which has covered the incremental movement of weapons of the commonly-called Stinger class through the conflict, examines what today’s development might mean.
In one video, the system is an SA-7. In the other, the type cannot be seen.
The SA-7 is an old system, and much less capable against modern military aircraft than its younger cousins. Also, as yet there is no publicly circulating evidence that the rebels have these weapons in large quantities.
Absent further information or fuller insight, the material that surfaced today marks a predictable step. If you were a Syrian Air Force pilot or air crew member, it would certainly be unsettling. It also would be nothing you would not have anticipated as government bases changed hands and SA-7s or other anti-air systems were picked up by antigovernment fighters as the war has dragged on.
In other words, this is not necessarily a game-changer. That said, if more are seen, and in a manner suggesting they are widely distributed and tactically effective, then this moment might later seem to have been significant. It is for now too soon to say.
With a nod to Damien Spleeters, for another arms-beat collaboration.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
Screen grab of a fighter with a complete SA-7.