Syria Direct examines the effects of rebel weaponry, including tanks made from car chassis and a remote-controlled machine gun, in the second installment of this two-part series.
“These weapons are simple in the eyes of the world,” says Ahmed Farzat, a First Lieutenant in the FSA’s Syrian Freemen Brigade stationed in Idlib province, “but they have a tremendous impact that catches the regime off guard.”
The hell cannon may be the most devastating heavy weapon invented by Syrian rebels during this conflict.
The cannon can fire shells weighing between five and 40 kg at a distance of more than 1,500 meters. Its destructive capacity is about 200 square meters. The hell cannon consists of two platforms from which rebel-made missiles can be launched, and it has an impressive capacity for mass destruction – especially given that is entirely locally produced.
FSA 1st Lt. Ahmed Farzat, whose brigade is in possession of a hell cannon, says that it is capable of destroying three entire stories of a cement building.
Originally devised by a rebel group called the Knights of Syria, the hell cannon was first employed to exact revenge against the regime for massacres in Banyas this past May. Rebels credit the hell cannon with helping to gain control over a number of government checkpoints in Idlib during these battles.
An FSA brigade demonstrates its hell cannon. Video courtesy of دروع الثورة.
Perhaps the most impressive feat of rebel engineering is the Sham II, an entirely rebel-produced tank. Fashioned out of an old car chassis and scrap metal, the Sham II features a turret-mounted machine gun controlled by an old Playstation video game controller.
The Sham II is the evolution of the Sham I, which has already been deployed in battle, and both were designed by Mahmoud Abad, a fighter with the al-Ansar Brigade near Aleppo. In an interview with AFP, Abad said that the tank cost just $10,000 in total and was built in a single month.
Rebels in Aleppo take the Sham II for a test drive. Video courtesy of 247aroundtheworld.
The electronic sniper is the invention of a 23-year-old electrical engineering student from Aleppo, who abandoned his studies to join the ranks of the Free Syrian Army. The sniper enables the operator to monitor the movements of enemy fighters, or even other snipers, by displaying them over a small screen. The operator, therefore, can sit at a distance and surveil out of harm’s way. In the video below, the inventor claims that he can fire the sniper remotely as well, but does not demonstrate.
The Electronic Sniper’s 23 year-old inventor shows off his handiwork. Video courtesy of MrABoRiYaD
Machine Gun Turret
A similar concept to the Electronic Sniper, the remote-controlled machine-gun turret allows rebel fighters to attack from a safe distance. The turret is equipped with a camera and remote-controlled receiver, so that it can be used at a distance of 100 meters. Fundamentally a homemade weapon, the machine-gun turret was first produced by rebels in Homs, but Ahrar Al-Sham battalions later introduced missile-bombs to be launched from the gun.
The machine-gun turret: No gunner required. Video courtesy of محمد أبو الجود.