Friday, 4 April 2014

Syrian BTR-80s, a recent acquisition?

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 

A recent stream of photos from Syria's Lattakia region revealed a new unit in the Syrian arsenal: The BTR-80 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). Syria, a traditional user of the BTR-60 family, was previously unknown to be operating BTR-80s. The Syrian Arab Army's wheeled APCs have rarely seen use in the conflict so far, with the YPG being the only major operator of BTR-60s, operating several modified BTR-60s in Northern Syria.

The few BTR-60s that remain operator in the hands of the SyAA are strictly used in a defensive role while the remaining Polish and Czechoslovakian made OT-64s were scrapped. The only prominent BTR-60 family member still in use is the BTR-60PU-12 air defense command vehicle, currently detached to Syria's 9K31 Strela-1 and 9K35 Strela-10 mobile surface to air missile systems battalions.

Also visible in the picture is an armoured Ural truck, one of the twenty-five delivered by the Russians for secure transport of Syria's chemical weapon arsenal to the port of Lattakia. Also received were fifty Kamaz trucks for the same purpose. Whether this delivery also included BTR-80 APCs is unknown.

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