While pundits clamor for the international community to provide the Syrian rebels with advanced anti-tank weapons, the rebels have figured out how to kill main battle tanks with simple RPGs, a weapon found in the arsenal of rebel groups across the country.
This past week, the following picture appeared on rebel Facebook pages identifying the area on a T-72 tank where the armor is described as a thin 2-3 cm directly above the tank’s engine. An RPG is capable of penetrating this light armor thereby destroying the engine and disabling the tank.
Footage from the ongoing battle for control of Ariha, dubbed the Battle of Tawhid (unity), shows a disabled tank struck in this exact location.
Despite the rebels’ lack of advanced weaponry, they destroy tanks on a daily basis and have shot down multiple regime aircraft. This raises the following questions: Does the risk of proliferation outweigh the benefit of supplying the rebels with an improved version of a capability that they already possess? Or is supplying the rebels with advanced weapons more about buying influence than providing a crucial capability?