Islamic State uses US-made anti-tank missile near Damascus


The Islamic State has released photographs showing its fighters using a US-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile against elements of the US-backed Free Syrian Army in the Damascus countryside.

The images were published by the Islamic State’s Wilayat Damascus (State of Damascus) and disseminated on Twitter by its supporters.

In the photo set, many Islamic State fighters can be seen amassing in more than 15 technicals, or armed pickup trucks. The pictures then show the use of the TOW missile on Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. The last few photos show FSA members the Islamic State has taken captive.

While the Islamic State is publicizing its use of the American-made weapon, it is unclear if it is the same model that is being supplied to various FSA groups throughout Syria. At least one TOW missile was also used by the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, in that group’s recent offensive on Wadi al Daif in the northwestern province of Idlib. [For more on this, see LWJ report Al Nusrah Front uses American-made anti-tank missile in Idlib.]

Additionally, many FSA groups have utilized supplies of TOW missiles to assist the Al Nusrah Front or allied jihadist groups in the past. In early October, many FSA groups assisted Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham in southern Syria with TOWs. Then a few days later, the Hazm Movement posted a video of its fighters utilizing TOWs in support of Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar in Aleppo. The Chechen group considers itself to be the Syrian branch of the Caucasus Emirate, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist organization that operates in the North Caucasus.

Pictures released from the Damascus countryside can be seen below:











Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • James Albright says:

    The fellow shown using the TOW probably received training from one of FSA militias as some point in time before ISIS began their crusade.

  • Abu Adam says:

    Mr. Albright,
    Does it matter where the fellow received training? By the way, you should be more careful with the use of the word “crusade” when it’s not related to people who are not Christians. The word itself is related to a Latin word which means cross, which is a Christian symbol. I just thought I’d remind you. 🙂

  • Mike in San Diego says:

    Arming these terrorists is treason. Plain and simple.

  • JFlood says:

    So what does ISIS do with FSA captures?

  • jayc says:

    Look how close their formations are in frames 3, 5 and 6. An air strike would have obliterated them.

  • J. U. says:

    FSA “Brotherhoods” (what left of them), Islamic Front and other salafists, Al Nusrah Front, ISIS… all of them are more or less the same anyways, cooperating more or less. Arming one of these groups is arming the others.

  • Evan says:

    Abu Adam,
    Mr Albright can in fact use the term crusade to describe you and your scummy buddies, because you’re on a crusade to kill all the Muslims and non Muslims that you can.
    You have NO power to control anyone’s language on here, nor does anyone care about your warnings. You and your kind are powerless, pathetic, and played out.
    Here’s a little message you should convey to Baghdadi,
    ” Those who are forced against their will, are of the same opinion still.” You think that anyone is going to submit to your rule? You’re wrong. You think any of the people unfortunate enough to be burdened with your kind actually believe that you people are Muslims? That you’re the vanguards of Islam and some quasi state? You’re wrong. You have no claim to leadership, nor does your group. You can’t govern, you can’t provide anyone with any degree of security or prosperity, which is what EVERYONE wants, regardless of what they say to your face. So you’re done before you even get started. Hell, you people can’t protect yourselves.
    You’ve got WAY bigger problems than the language mr. Albright chooses to use. Just thought I’d remind you.

  • Abu Adam says:

    Evan! Evan! Evan! You’re way too angry. 🙂 Relax! You take this way too personally, man. 🙂 The war has just started. It’s way too early for anyone to make any real claims, my man. 🙂 You’ve got way too much time on your hands. 🙂

  • cs says:

    Yes Mr. Abu Adam, find a goat and relax yourself, instead of posting nuisance.

  • David says:

    @Abu Adam
    Wow, you are really laid back, for a guy that wants to kill everybody. 🙂 Huh, I guess you guys really ARE kind of cool, in
    a sort of depraved serial killer kind of way 🙂 :). Say, how are things over there in the Syrian sunshine? Enslaved any women today? :):):) I know that you guys like ’em kind of young, like 9 or so (wasn’t that Aisha’s age, when Mohammed consummated the marriage? Well, I guess it’s ok, then :):) ).
    Hey, how are things in Kobani? Not so well, I here :(:(:(…


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