Meet the MANPADS: the anti-aircraft weapon the FSA may get/have gotten in northern Syria

Published October 9th, 2016 - 12:05 GMT
A PKK militant with a MANPADS weapon in Turkey (AFP/File)
A PKK militant with a MANPADS weapon in Turkey (AFP/File)

Some reported yesterday that some Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in northern Syria have received weapons called the Man-portable air defense system, commonly known as MANPADS.

Others, however, disputed the report.

MANPADS are surface to air missile launchers, that can be deployed by ground soldiers against low-flying aircraft.

Regardless of whether they have been sent, the news comes at a time of concern for the US and its Gulf allies that rebel groups will lose east Aleppo to the Syrian regime and its Iranian, Lebanese and other allies, backed by Russia. This concern led the US to decide to allow shipments of the weapon to the area, according to Middle East Eye.

Their arrival, however, has yet to be confirmed as of now.

But what exactly does a MANPAD do? To civilians, it may appear like a rocket launcher. It’s a large, hand-held device that shoots missiles. The following video by WarLeaks’ YouTube channel shows a MANPAD shooting down a drone.

The Syrian army is currently advancing into rebel-held east Aleppo. The UN has warned that the offensive – which aims to defeat rebel groups in the city – could result in thousands of deaths. Lately, Russian and regime airstrikes have killed hundreds in the city’s east. In regime-controlled west Aleppo, people have also died from rebel shelling recently.



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