Monday, 28 July 2014

The spoils of Regiment 121, captured by the Islamic State

After two succesful operations by the Islamic State last week, Assad's footgrip in Nothern Syria weakened even further, losing two bases of vital importance. Division 17 located near Raqqa and Regiment 121 located near Al-Hasakah both fell to fighters of the Islamic State. The capture of these two bases were conducted in quick succession to each other with the Islamic State suffering minor losses, this in sharp contrast to earlier operations in Syria, in which the Islamic State often suffered far more casualties. A development worth keeping an eye on. Some of the fighters were also seen with U.S. made M16 rifles captured in Iraq, another sign of the arms tranfers between the two battlefields.

Given this, another important Assadist base is now under even more threat than ever before. Kweres, the main training base of the Syrian Arab Air Force before the revolution is already surrounded and falls under occasional heavy mortar fire by the Islamic State. With the capture of Division 17 and Regiment 121 freeing up forces, Kweres has much to fear.

Regiment 121, an artillery and storage base contained huge amounts of weaponry and munitions, enabling the Islamic State to further intensify the attacks on various groups opposed to them in Nothern Syria. The most important weaponry captured are obviously the 130mm M-46 field guns and 122 BM-21 Grads MRLs, a quantum leap forward in Northern Syria.

Below, an overview of some of the weapons captured:

130mm M-46s field guns, at least twelve of which were captured with associated ammunition and towing trucks.

BM-21s, at least seven of which were captured. Some BM-21s are showing burn marks, indicating heavy usage in the past couple of weeks.

T-55s, of which at least three were captured at Regiment 121. More tanks of this type were captured at Division 17.

9K115-2 Metis-M anti-tank missile systems. Three 9M113 anti-tank missiles together with another box showing '1ПН86ВИ' or 1PBN86VI, the thermal sight used with the launcher, can be seen below.
This indicates the Islamic State not only captured the missiles, but also the 9P151 launchers required to operate the missile.

The final destination of these 9K115-2 Metis-Ms will most likely be Iraq due to a heavier armour threat being present there.

More anti-tank missiles were also captured at Division 17, including various types of Malyutka missiles. Under which a few Iranian I-RAADs. These are also likely to be transferred to the Iraqi front.

Various trucks and jeeps, apart from the MAZ-6317s and GAZ-66s most of them in derilict condition. Also captured were Soviet ZiL-130s, ZiL-131s, ZiL-157s and UAZ-469s, Belarussian MAZ-6317s, Czechoslovak Praga V3S's and Tatra 148s and one lone Russian GAZ Sobol and a lone British Land Rover.

Apart from munition for the 130mm M-46s and 122mm BM-21 Grads, Regiment 121 also held various other munitions such as tens of thousands small arms rounds and hundreds of PG-7V rocket-propelled grenades for the RPG-7. The reason for the large cache of weapons and munitions is that regiment 121 did not only hold ammunition for troops stationed on this base, but was one of the main weapon depots in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.

An overview of the weapons and munitions stored in one of the depots of the base.

- Sixty-two automatic rifles (AKs)
- Eight Polish rifles (Mosin-Nagants)
- Two Degtyaryov machine guns (RPDs)
- Three B-10 recoilless rifle
- One Austrian sniper rifle (Steyr SSG 69)
- Forty attack grenades
- One-hundred and twenty defensive grenades
- One sniper rifle scope
- Three Optical devices
- Twenty boxes of rifle accessories
- Seventy-five NATO Belgian bullets
- Two-hundred and sixty-four high explosive incendiary rounds
- Fifteen armour piercing bullets
- Twelve smoke gun rounds
- Thirty-six illumination rounds
- Fifteen RPG grenades

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  1. They lost bases, but what about the troops? There should be thousands? What happened to them? Also if anybody can provide any links to up to date situation map / events list on the war in Syria that would be most welcome.

    1. Take a look at this.

    2. Check this one: it's the wikipedia map of the conflict, updated daily.

      The IS actually is reported to have retreated from ther Artillery Base, at this point it's unclear if the items captured were actually already all moved away or some of them has been lost/disabled in Air bombing by Governatives.

      And it appears that the Army made collaborations with Kurdish YPG to deal with the IS in the North:

    3. the Army and YPG collaboration was made on Kawkab Artillery base.. which separated dozen Kilometers from 121 base. and also reported by locals the total 'cannons' was 70 at least

    4. Umar Shishani claimed the capture of fifty howitzers and twenty Grads, which is what you would find in an artillery regiment at full strength.

    5. I was talking of the whole frontline in north. Kurdish has already shown to be able to ally with the best side that they believe at the moment make more safe their civilian area (and with a good deal of reasons...)
      Btw: this is a map of 25 July of the area.

    6. Hi. Thanks for the latest map and replies. Im the "OP". Anyways, looking at this last map, it is clear that Syria and Iraq need to have some serious cooperation and a deal which allows Syrian forces to cross into Iraq in their Fight with IS. And drive these animals to the desert. Otherwise as you see from the map the situation is unbearable, with IS controlling bunch of urban centers within kilometers (or only 100's of meters) of Syrian border where to launch attacks with impunity at the Syrian bases / checkpoints.

  2. Why wouldnt Syrian Air force bomb the left behind munitions to deny the enemy them and also possibly kill many in the process. might also boost moral of regime forces

    1. A lack of communication. Since some of the bases also house hardened munition depots, destroying them would require a strike with guided missiles or bombs, making matters more complicated.

  3. I would think that even a sub par commander would have prepared most munitions for destruction in event of a retreat from the base. at least spike the howitzers to make them unavailable, throw sand which is plentiful in the desert into the engines of all the vehicles to render them useless, take firing pins from all weapons. as bad as Syrian regime is the ISIS is worse and best outcome appears to be a Regime victory

  4. So, engine can't be cleaned or the firing pin can't be replaced? How dumb do you think Islamic State is? They used DIY Drone to Recon.

  5. start and engine with sand in it and listen as the inside of the engine block is destroyed. Make them work for it. of course they can repair them but that takes time and $$$ and keeps the equipment off the battlefield. also keeps those that are repairing them off the battlefield. diy drones are no big deal. You can order kits online for very little $$$

  6. Video about the preparation and attck on the base:

  7. kurds will surely defeat isis and retain back its terriotry.