Update: Following news that some 250 Russian-made anti-tank missiles were transferred to rebels in Syria, The Los Angeles Times reports that CIA agents and U.S. Special Forces have been secretly training rebels how to use anti-tank and anti-aircraft rebels since late last year. The training is happening at bases in Jordan and Turkey and may help explain why in the videos below, rebels appear capable of using the anti-tank weaponry to deadly effect. The Times says the training includes a two-week crash course on using Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter anti-tank rifles, anti-tank missiles and 23-millimeter anti-aircraft weapons.
Original post: New videos appear to corroborate reports that Syrian rebels received a windfall of powerful anti-tank weaponry from an Arab country this month. Meanwhile, U.S.-labeled military assistance has yet to materialize, a source tells Killer Apps.
On Tuesday, the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that some 250 Russian-made anti-tank "Konkurs" missiles were transferred to Syrian rebels, including "Islamic fundamentalist brigades working with the Free Syrian Army." On Wednesday, the Telegraph also reported that Konkurs missiles were acquired by rebels near Aleppo, adding that the supplier was Saudi Arabia.
The weapons are significant because unlike rocket-propelled grenades, Konkurs are capable of pulverizing Russian-made T72s, the Syrian regime's most sophisticated tanks. On Thursday, Dan Layman of the Syrian Support Group, which advocates for the opposition in Washington, provided Killer Apps with new video clips that appear to show the new anti-tank missiles in action:
Layman, whose group maintains extensive ties with rebel commanders of the Free Syrian Army, tells Killer Apps that activists in Syria have corroborated the transfer of anti-tank weapons as well as the delivery of 1,000 rounds of ammunition. "These are expected to have come from the Saudis along with some European coordination," Layman said. "From what I've seen, these are already being put to use in Aleppo."
Rebel fighters are trying to fend off Syrian government forces in the strategic northern city of Aleppo, where they have continued to request sophisticated weaponry to combat the regime's helicopters, artillery, and tanks. Although the United States announced its support for military assistance to the rebels, Layman said it doesn't appear to have materialized.
"To my knowledge and according to what activists and soldiers are saying, U.S.-labeled military assistance has not yet arrived."
John Reed reports on the frontiers of cyber war and the latest in military technology for Killer Apps.