The war in Syria goes DIY: 9 improvised weapons being used in the conflict

Published August 18th, 2015 - 08:23 GMT

Syrian opposition fighters may not always have the tools or the funds for high-tech weaponry — so if they want a job done, they do it themselves.

Time and again, the rebels have shown they know how to make something out of nothing. From handmade hand grenades wrapped with 7-Eleven sale tape, to armored vehicles using PlayStation controllers,  soldiers-gone-rogue know exactly how to use their resources to stay in the fight.

Rebel groups aren’t the only ones in the war that have made them with amateur hands; Daesh (ISIS) and even the Syrian regime have been a part of the new trend as funds run tight for all rival factions.

And it’s a dangerous trend at that. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many lives have been lost in attempts to make DIY weapons during the war, there have been several reports of major, life-threatening accidents because the makers didn’t know how to handle their arsenal.

Yet there’s something impressive about the number of weapons created — even invented — during the conflict that’s persisted for four years and counting. The Syrian civil war has been a source for lost lives, homes, public infrastructure and businesses. But one thing that’s thrived is the art of makeshift arms.

From the lethal to the downright bizarre, here are nine DIY weapons being used in the conflict.

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The effectiveness of killer pipe bombs has been well documented, and in Syria — where standard munitions like grenades can be hard to come by — rebel groups have been churning them out by the hundreds. The bombs pictured here feature pieces of metal welded onto their casings for added shrapnel in the explosion.

The effectiveness of killer pipe bombs has been well documented, and in Syria — where standard munitions like grenades can be hard to come by — rebel groups have been churning them out by the hundreds. The bombs pictured here feature pieces of metal welded onto their casings for added shrapnel in the explosion.

Armored car bombs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are among the deadliest weapons in the Daesh arsenal. During the battle for Ramadi, the group detonated as many as ten VBIEDs before government troops withdrew from the city.

Armored car bombs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are among the deadliest weapons in the Daesh arsenal. During the battle for Ramadi, the group detonated as many as ten VBIEDs before government troops withdrew from the city.

The “Qa’Qa’ rocket” is just one of many improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) being used in the conflict. First introduced in the Southern Front’s offensive on the regime-held parts of Daraa, the Qa’Qa’ rocket is notable for its recent introduction and the fact that it takes seven able-bodied young men to move.

The “Qa’Qa’ rocket” is just one of many improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) being used in the conflict. First introduced in the Southern Front’s offensive on the regime-held parts of Daraa, the Qa’Qa’ rocket is notable for its recent introduction and the fact that it takes seven able-bodied young men to move.

With no foreign government sponsors, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are seriously lacking in heavy ordnance, so they manufactured their own. DIY tanks like this one are pretty useless in battle, and are mostly used as ambulances. Fortunately, they hung a YPG flag on the front, so you don’t mistake them for Jawas.

With no foreign government sponsors, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are seriously lacking in heavy ordnance, so they manufactured their own. DIY tanks like this one are pretty useless in battle, and are mostly used as ambulances. Fortunately, they hung a YPG flag on the front, so you don’t mistake them for Jawas.

When your throwing arm just won’t do, it’s time to go medieval. Rebel fighters have been spotted using slingshots like this one and catapults to launch grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at greater distances.

When your throwing arm just won’t do, it’s time to go medieval. Rebel fighters have been spotted using slingshots like this one and catapults to launch grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at greater distances.

The Hell Cannon is a Syrian civil war exclusive, having been introduced by the Ahrar al-Shamal brigade in May 2013. This portable DIY mortar features a repurposed propane bottle filled with explosives as a projectile. Despite its short range, the Hell Cannon has been widely adopted by other rebel groups in the conflict.

The Hell Cannon is a Syrian civil war exclusive, having been introduced by the Ahrar al-Shamal brigade in May 2013. This portable DIY mortar features a repurposed propane bottle filled with explosives as a projectile. Despite its short range, the Hell Cannon has been widely adopted by other rebel groups in the conflict.

In 2012, al-Ansar al-Sharia rebels near Aleppo introduced a “100 percent made in Syria” armored vehicle. Encased in 2.5 cm steel plating, replete with a 7.62 mm machine gun operated with a PlayStation controller, “Sham II” reportedly took one month and $10,000 to build. No word yet on its fate since its deployment in Aleppo three years ago.

In 2012, al-Ansar al-Sharia rebels near Aleppo introduced a “100 percent made in Syria” armored vehicle. Encased in 2.5 cm steel plating, replete with a 7.62 mm machine gun operated with a PlayStation controller, “Sham II” reportedly took one month and $10,000 to build. No word yet on its fate since its deployment in Aleppo three years ago.

Chlorine has made an appearance a number of times in the conflict, reportedly having been used by the regime and Daesh. Less lethal than Sarin or mustard gas, chlorine gas can nonetheless cause choking, lung damage, and even death. Experts believe Daesh gets its chlorine supply from captured water treatment plants.

Chlorine has made an appearance a number of times in the conflict, reportedly having been used by the regime and Daesh. Less lethal than Sarin or mustard gas, chlorine gas can nonetheless cause choking, lung damage, and even death. Experts believe Daesh gets its chlorine supply from captured water treatment plants.

Barrel bombs hardly need an introduction. These clumsy, primitive explosives are little more than giant pipe bombs dropped from helicopters. Barrel bombs have garnered so much international attention that it seems the only person who doesn’t know what they are is the man using them, Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly denied their existence.

Barrel bombs hardly need an introduction. These clumsy, primitive explosives are little more than giant pipe bombs dropped from helicopters. Barrel bombs have garnered so much international attention that it seems the only person who doesn’t know what they are is the man using them, Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly denied their existence.

The effectiveness of killer pipe bombs has been well documented, and in Syria — where standard munitions like grenades can be hard to come by — rebel groups have been churning them out by the hundreds. The bombs pictured here feature pieces of metal welded onto their casings for added shrapnel in the explosion.
Armored car bombs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are among the deadliest weapons in the Daesh arsenal. During the battle for Ramadi, the group detonated as many as ten VBIEDs before government troops withdrew from the city.
The “Qa’Qa’ rocket” is just one of many improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) being used in the conflict. First introduced in the Southern Front’s offensive on the regime-held parts of Daraa, the Qa’Qa’ rocket is notable for its recent introduction and the fact that it takes seven able-bodied young men to move.
With no foreign government sponsors, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are seriously lacking in heavy ordnance, so they manufactured their own. DIY tanks like this one are pretty useless in battle, and are mostly used as ambulances. Fortunately, they hung a YPG flag on the front, so you don’t mistake them for Jawas.
When your throwing arm just won’t do, it’s time to go medieval. Rebel fighters have been spotted using slingshots like this one and catapults to launch grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at greater distances.
The Hell Cannon is a Syrian civil war exclusive, having been introduced by the Ahrar al-Shamal brigade in May 2013. This portable DIY mortar features a repurposed propane bottle filled with explosives as a projectile. Despite its short range, the Hell Cannon has been widely adopted by other rebel groups in the conflict.
In 2012, al-Ansar al-Sharia rebels near Aleppo introduced a “100 percent made in Syria” armored vehicle. Encased in 2.5 cm steel plating, replete with a 7.62 mm machine gun operated with a PlayStation controller, “Sham II” reportedly took one month and $10,000 to build. No word yet on its fate since its deployment in Aleppo three years ago.
Chlorine has made an appearance a number of times in the conflict, reportedly having been used by the regime and Daesh. Less lethal than Sarin or mustard gas, chlorine gas can nonetheless cause choking, lung damage, and even death. Experts believe Daesh gets its chlorine supply from captured water treatment plants.
Barrel bombs hardly need an introduction. These clumsy, primitive explosives are little more than giant pipe bombs dropped from helicopters. Barrel bombs have garnered so much international attention that it seems the only person who doesn’t know what they are is the man using them, Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly denied their existence.
The effectiveness of killer pipe bombs has been well documented, and in Syria — where standard munitions like grenades can be hard to come by — rebel groups have been churning them out by the hundreds. The bombs pictured here feature pieces of metal welded onto their casings for added shrapnel in the explosion.
The effectiveness of killer pipe bombs has been well documented, and in Syria — where standard munitions like grenades can be hard to come by — rebel groups have been churning them out by the hundreds. The bombs pictured here feature pieces of metal welded onto their casings for added shrapnel in the explosion.
Armored car bombs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are among the deadliest weapons in the Daesh arsenal. During the battle for Ramadi, the group detonated as many as ten VBIEDs before government troops withdrew from the city.
Armored car bombs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are among the deadliest weapons in the Daesh arsenal. During the battle for Ramadi, the group detonated as many as ten VBIEDs before government troops withdrew from the city.
The “Qa’Qa’ rocket” is just one of many improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) being used in the conflict. First introduced in the Southern Front’s offensive on the regime-held parts of Daraa, the Qa’Qa’ rocket is notable for its recent introduction and the fact that it takes seven able-bodied young men to move.
The “Qa’Qa’ rocket” is just one of many improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs) being used in the conflict. First introduced in the Southern Front’s offensive on the regime-held parts of Daraa, the Qa’Qa’ rocket is notable for its recent introduction and the fact that it takes seven able-bodied young men to move.
With no foreign government sponsors, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are seriously lacking in heavy ordnance, so they manufactured their own. DIY tanks like this one are pretty useless in battle, and are mostly used as ambulances. Fortunately, they hung a YPG flag on the front, so you don’t mistake them for Jawas.
With no foreign government sponsors, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are seriously lacking in heavy ordnance, so they manufactured their own. DIY tanks like this one are pretty useless in battle, and are mostly used as ambulances. Fortunately, they hung a YPG flag on the front, so you don’t mistake them for Jawas.
When your throwing arm just won’t do, it’s time to go medieval. Rebel fighters have been spotted using slingshots like this one and catapults to launch grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at greater distances.
When your throwing arm just won’t do, it’s time to go medieval. Rebel fighters have been spotted using slingshots like this one and catapults to launch grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails at greater distances.
The Hell Cannon is a Syrian civil war exclusive, having been introduced by the Ahrar al-Shamal brigade in May 2013. This portable DIY mortar features a repurposed propane bottle filled with explosives as a projectile. Despite its short range, the Hell Cannon has been widely adopted by other rebel groups in the conflict.
The Hell Cannon is a Syrian civil war exclusive, having been introduced by the Ahrar al-Shamal brigade in May 2013. This portable DIY mortar features a repurposed propane bottle filled with explosives as a projectile. Despite its short range, the Hell Cannon has been widely adopted by other rebel groups in the conflict.
In 2012, al-Ansar al-Sharia rebels near Aleppo introduced a “100 percent made in Syria” armored vehicle. Encased in 2.5 cm steel plating, replete with a 7.62 mm machine gun operated with a PlayStation controller, “Sham II” reportedly took one month and $10,000 to build. No word yet on its fate since its deployment in Aleppo three years ago.
In 2012, al-Ansar al-Sharia rebels near Aleppo introduced a “100 percent made in Syria” armored vehicle. Encased in 2.5 cm steel plating, replete with a 7.62 mm machine gun operated with a PlayStation controller, “Sham II” reportedly took one month and $10,000 to build. No word yet on its fate since its deployment in Aleppo three years ago.
Chlorine has made an appearance a number of times in the conflict, reportedly having been used by the regime and Daesh. Less lethal than Sarin or mustard gas, chlorine gas can nonetheless cause choking, lung damage, and even death. Experts believe Daesh gets its chlorine supply from captured water treatment plants.
Chlorine has made an appearance a number of times in the conflict, reportedly having been used by the regime and Daesh. Less lethal than Sarin or mustard gas, chlorine gas can nonetheless cause choking, lung damage, and even death. Experts believe Daesh gets its chlorine supply from captured water treatment plants.
Barrel bombs hardly need an introduction. These clumsy, primitive explosives are little more than giant pipe bombs dropped from helicopters. Barrel bombs have garnered so much international attention that it seems the only person who doesn’t know what they are is the man using them, Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly denied their existence.
Barrel bombs hardly need an introduction. These clumsy, primitive explosives are little more than giant pipe bombs dropped from helicopters. Barrel bombs have garnered so much international attention that it seems the only person who doesn’t know what they are is the man using them, Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly denied their existence.

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