Syria’s Rebels Add Explosives Expertise to Guerrilla Tactics
Syria’s opposition fighters are increasingly using Iraqi-style roadside bombs in their war against Bashar al-Assad, most recently blowing up a large tank convoy travelling to attack rebels inside the city of Aleppo.
Free Syrian Army commanders told the Guardian that the use of improvised explosive devices has gone up in recent months, with fighters growing increasingly adept at making bombs. Iraqi insurgents used roadside bombs extensively in their campaign against the US military.
The FSA commanders added that a secret network of informers inside the Syrian army and other regime structures passed them regular information on regime troop movements. This allowed the rebels to target the army with devastating results, they said.
Mohamad Baree, a commander in the town of Korkanaya in northern Syria, said that his fighters ambushed a tank column at 5am on 29 July as it set off from the city of Idlib. The column comprised 20 tanks and armoured vehicles and had been sent to reinforce government positions in Aleppo, part-seized by the rebels nine days earlier.
“We used five or six self-made bombs. We destroyed two of the tanks. The other 18 returned back to Idlib,” he said. Baree said his fighters had laid a long cable of some 300 metres, setting off the explosions remotely from their positions concealed behind rocks.
Baree admitted his operation was a success but with tragic consequences: one of the retreating tanks then fired a shell into a fifth-storey residential home on Idlib’s 30th street, killing five members of a family. “They [the regime soldiers] were afraid. They didn’t know what was happening. They wanted revenge,” he sai