Militant anti-tank missile usage increases amid Idlib battle

The use of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) by militant groups against the Syrian Army amid battles in the southern countryside of Idlib province has increased considerably in the last five days.

In increased usage of ATGMs has been noted particularly on the Sukayk front, where since the Syrian Army began storming the area (capturing the town and its corresponding hilltop) about five days ago, at least a dozen provable ATGM launches have been recorded.

Two days ago, open-source Syrian conflict observers began circulating picture evidence (stills of insurgent war footage) showing the recorded use of 72 anti-tank missiles against Syrian Army positions, armor, vehicles and groupings since the government offensive began back in early May – effectively over the course of three months.

This does not account for ATGMs that may have been used, missed the target and as a result, were not recorded by militants.

Considering that back in August of 2016, insurgents were noted to have provably used nearly 120 ATGMs for that month alone (and just under 100 for each of the two months prior to that), the use of 72 munitions over three months does not seem overtly threatening.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that the recent increase in ATGM usage as noticed on the Sukayk front may be a sign that certain foreign powers still invested in north Syria’s Islamist groups (i.e. Turkey) may be beginning to re-commit to providing sophisticated weapons (such as ATGMs) for these militants. The next few weeks will likely confirm or disprove this observed trend.