« The resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq ... in Iraq, and Syria, and Jordan, and Libya and ... | Main | Hamas reportedly frees Jaish al Ummah leader in Gaza »




Syrian rebels debut homemade fighting vehicle



Syrian rebels, claiming to have spent over a month designing, assembling, and developing a garage-made armored vehicle, debuted the Sham II fighting vehicle near the besieged city of Aleppo earlier today. The Sham II, a reference to ancient Syria (ash-Sham), is a boxy, light armored vehicle built upon a car chassis and is outfitted with a 7.62mm machine gun (which appears to be a Russian-designed PKM) that is controlled from inside the vehicle. The Sham II is also outfitted with five cameras -- three in the front, one mounted on or near the machine gun, and one in the back -- all of which are seemingly controlled by -- a Sony PlayStation remote control. It should be noted that, apparently on the side of caution, Syrian rebels have even outfitted the Sham II with an operable headlight.

The Sham II, an updated version of a previously made Sham I light infantry by Syrian fighters from the al Ansar Brigade, cost approximately $10,000 (not including the gun), according to one rebel fighter whose brother had designed and built it. The vehicle is reportedly covered with steel plating approximately 2.5 centimeters thick. However, the Sham II is admittedly underprepared to defend against rocket-propelled grenades or tank fire. Rebels claimed the Sham II would soon be ushered into a combat role by members of al Ansar's Saad Benmoaz battalion near Aleppo.

Al Ansar rebels have fought pitched battles with Syrian army regulars around Aleppo for the past several months. In mid-November, al Ansar fighters succeeded in wresting control of the Syrian Army's 46th Regiment's base west of Aleppo, and in the process, gained access to stores of ammunition and weapons, including sophisticated weaponry such as the SA-16 Gimlet man-portable-air-defense-system (MANPADS).

SA16_Aleppo.jpg



READER COMMENTS: "Syrian rebels debut homemade fighting vehicle "

Posted by Navin at December 10, 2012 2:50 AM ET:

Congrates...let this be the last fight inside Syria and live in peace...when someone tricks you to attach Israel...stay away and think about your life and your people...Wishing success for throwing off Assad and Hizbullah and Iran groups inside Syria. Hope you support or return back you deeds when Lebonan Sunni's need your help against the rats

Posted by Adrian at December 10, 2012 9:44 AM ET:

That's not a Playstation controller, or at least not an official Sony one. It's more likely just a generic USB PC controller; lots are designed to look like a Playstation pad, like the one shown here.

Posted by Nic at December 10, 2012 10:40 AM ET:

The camera bays seem vulnerable to light arms fire. Would someone with combat experience please elaborate on the ease of blinding the vehicle. The sooner Asad is gone the better!!!!!!

Posted by gb at December 10, 2012 11:08 AM ET:

Haha...Sham is an appropriate name for that thing!

Posted by Terry Smith at December 10, 2012 11:45 AM ET:

I'm impressed, but the first time this thing meets an RPG 7 they're gonna rename it the Smouldering Crater Filled With Corpses I .....

Posted by Will Fenwick at December 10, 2012 12:44 PM ET:

It looks like its just welded steel plate for armour, likely less than an inch thick. 50 caliber AP rounds could probably defeat the armour. Similar vehicals have been produced in sieges by insurgent forces before. Notably in the Warsaw Uprising and in the Libyan Civil War. Such vehicles tend to be of little use against anything but poorly equipped infantry. The Syrian rebels would be better off trying to repair damaged Syrian army apcs and tanks for their own use, as AQAP was able to do with great effect in Yemen. In the Sri Lankan Civil war the LTTE was able to successfully rebuild various Sri Lankan army vehicles and use them with some effect. They even created a couple light tanks by removing the main gun off of several armored cars and welding them into the chassis of several apcs they had captured and repaired.

Posted by wallbangr at December 10, 2012 5:59 PM ET:

You naysayers are all wrong. I've seen this technology work a hundred times to good effect. On the A-Team...

Posted by Alan Hawk at December 11, 2012 8:44 AM ET:

Seems to be optimized for narrow streets. Very nice sloped armor in front and rear, but vertical sides are its achilles heal. The video camera a 'play station' controls also suggest the streetsweeper role for this machine as it will prevent the operators from exposing himself to fire, likely from close range. A very impressive effort showing that the rebels have devoloped some infastructure in their controlled areas. It show organization, centralization and a certain level of sophistication.