WWII relics & cutting-edge US drones: Spoils of Syrian war displayed in Russia (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
The weapons have been put on display at the Army-2018 forum, which is being held outside Moscow near the city of Kubinka. Small pieces are displayed in a pavilion while larger objects, such as tanks and cars, are out in the open.
Some of the weapons are more suited to a collector’s closet or a museum rather than to an actual war zone. The WWII relics include StG 44s, made in Nazi Germany. The war castoffs made it into Syria from Eastern Germany in the 1960s, when the latter country transitioned to Soviet weaponry.
French-made pre-WWII MAS-36 and post-war MAS-49 rifles have also likely made it into militants’ hands from loot ransacked from Syrian Army stores. Many of the old guns still look quite pristine, as they likely did not see much action, due to lack of readily available ammunition.
A relic of another war, British Centurion tank was among the trophies as well. The beaten-up machine was likely left behind by the Israeli army during the Yom Kippur War and picked up by the militants during the ongoing conflict.
The exhibit shows quite a large amount of various US-made weapons, ranging from small arms and anti-tank systems…
To Humvees in various states of decay. Large numbers of such vehicles were captured by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) terrorists from the Iraqi army back in 2014 and many ended up in Syria.
The fancy modern AeroVironment Switchblade drone is also among the US-made spoils of the war in Syria. The drone is designed as a ‘kamikaze’ and packs a warhead which explodes when the UAV crashes into its target. Some 350 such machines were reportedly delivered to Iraq last year to be used by the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) against IS. At least one of them has seemingly got into the wrong hands.
Several South African RG-31 Nyala MRAPs, captured recently in southwestern Syria, are on display as well. The machines fell into the hands of militants when the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), sent to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria, retreated from the Golan Heights area.
The exhibit features OT-64 SKOT armored personnel carriers, developed by Poland and Czechoslovakia back in 1960s. Syria purchased some 300 machines in 1970s, yet they were long-since decommissioned before the war in Syria. Several APCs of the type, looking brand-new and sporting fancy chrome exhausts, unexpectedly landed in the hands of the militants in southwestern Syria last year.
The sudden emergence of the machines fueled allegations of arms deliveries to the militants, especially after such a vehicle on the Bosporus Straight, was spotted travelling from Bulgaria to Saudia Arabia. Whatever the true source of OT-64 SKOTs is, several fully-operational APCs ended up in Kubinka.
Naturally, there’s a large amount of Mad Max-styled gun trucks and suicide bombers’ vehicles among the trophies. Ordinary civilian cars were up-armored by the militants to various degrees, depending on skills and imagination of a jihadi craftsman.
One of the pick-up trucks even has a pod for unguided aircraft rockets mounted. Such a setup is less than unprecise and is capable of firing its munitions only in a general direction.
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