Friday, 4 April 2014

Syrian BTR-80s, a recent acquisition?

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. Syria's wheeled APCs have seen little use in the conflict so far, being superseded by tracked infantry fighting vehicles such as the BMP-1.

A few BTR-60s have been detached to various army brigades and 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.

Also possible, given the signs of heavy usage, is that the vehicle was part of an earlier deal. Lattakia and Tartus are known to hold much of the modern equipment currently in use by the Pro-Assadists. Most of the S-125 Pechora 2Ms, 9K317 Buk-M2s and Pantsir-S1s are based here. Is this a sign of what has yet to come?

Special thanks to Majd Sousy.

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