On the fronts of North Aleppo, opposition forces claim to have captured another T-90 from the government. This comes only days after opposition group Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki in Aleppo managed to capture a T-90. No rebel group has claimed responsibility for the most recent armor capture.
The Syrian Arab Army has, over the past five years of conflict, lost over 2,000 armored vehicles due to improper tactics and deployment into bad combat situations. Due to armored advancements in urban combat scenarios with no infantry to protect the flanks, lightly armored opposition forces have had easy access to these expensive and critical pieces of wartime machinery, either capturing or immobilizing them.
The Syrian government in the current conflict has been known to be short on equipment, using barrel bombs dropped from helicopters instead of traditional airstrikes, often targeting civilian centers instead of purely military targets. The government has also been known for improvisation and non-traditional tactics, instead of destroying logistic targets with airstrikes, they’ve employed armored bulldozers to destroy logistic targets.
With both equipment and manpower shortages prevalent through every party of the Syrian Civil War, all sides have been known to improvise weapons. Opposition forces have famously invented the “hellcannon”, an improvised artillery piece with a range of about one mile and the ability to fire a variety of projectiles.
While the rebels have adapted to fight the war in front of them, the Syrian Arab Army has yet to do the same, with periodic warplane and armor losses. In 2016 alone, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and Da’esh (Islamic State) downed one jet each, with countless armor losses throughout the year.
While the opposition is capable of fighting without heavy equipment, often fighting guerrilla warfare, the Syrian government relies on tactics written for conventional warfare. This ends in unsustainable equipment losses. The government, unable to adapt to the current war, continues to lose necessary weapons of war and has lost most of its supply.
However, the SAA has done incredibly well at stretching their supply to its maximum potential. While it was speculated that the army would run out of tanks by 2014, here the government is in 2016 standing strong and making gains.
Could there be a change of tactics that has yet to be truly revealed?