DIY

Syrian rebels’ homemade weapons are getting bigger

Just days after the four-year anniversary of Syria’s bloody civil war, new photos of Syrian rebels’ weapons suggest increasingly ambitious innovation in their DIY arms manufacturing. Although anti-government groups like the Free Syrian Army have repeatedly called for—and sometimes received—arms donations from foreign governments, homemade weapons cobbled together from farming and construction equipment continue to play an important part in the conflict. They have been deployed on all sides, from Syrian government forces’ nail-filled “barrel bombs” to the Islamic State’s improvised explosive devices to rebel Islamist coalition Shamiyya Front’s gas-canister-loaded cannon, the Borkan (“Volcano”).

Below, the evolution of weapons made by Syrian rebels throughout the conflict.

Fall 2012:

Members of the free Syrian Army use a catapult to launch a homemade bomb during clashes with pro-government soldiers in the city of Aleppo, October, 15, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR396CY
Oct. 15, 2012: Members of the free Syrian Army use a catapult to launch a homemade bomb during clashes with pro-government soldiers in the city of Aleppo. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)
Free Syrian Army fighters launch a home made bomb using a catapult during clashes in Aleppo October 20, 2012.  REUTERS/Zain Karam (SYRIA - Tags: CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR39DHY
Oct. 20, 2012: Free Syrian Army fighters launch a homemade bomb using a catapult during clashes in Aleppo (Reuters/Zain Karam)

Spring/summer 2013:

Free Syrian Army fighters use a homemade catapult in old Aleppo, January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Zain Karam    (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3D4RK
Jan 29, 2013: Free Syrian Army fighters use a homemade catapult in old Aleppo (Reuters/Zain Karam)
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Tahrir al Sham brigade use a shotgun to fire an improvised grenade at Syrian Army soldiers in the Arabeen neigbourhood of Damascus February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (SYRIA  - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT) - RTR3DJ9Q
Feb. 9, 2013: Fighters from the Free Syrian Army’s Tahrir al Sham brigade use a shotgun to fire an improvised grenade at Syrian Army soldiers in the Arabeen neigbourhood of Damascus. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
A member of the Free Syrian Army writes a name of a fellow fighter on a home-made rocket in Deir al-Zor, June 16, 2013. Picture taken June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi (SYRIA - Tags: CONFLICT) - RTX10QLP
Jun. 16, 2013: A member of the Free Syrian Army writes the name of a fellow fighter on a homemade rocket in Deir al-Zor (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi)
A Free Syrian Army fighter displays homemade bombs made from ornamental balls in the old city of Aleppo July 6, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX11EP6
July 6, 2013: A Free Syrian Army fighter displays homemade bombs made from ornamental balls (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)

Fall 2013:

A Free Syrian Army fighter spray paints on improvised mortar shells at a weapon factory in Aleppo September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX137X0
Sept. 5, 2013: A Free Syrian Army fighter spray paints on improvised mortar shells at a weapon factory in Aleppo (Reuters/Hamid Khatib)
A Free Syrian Army fighter spray paints an improvised mortar shell, as his fellow fighter watches him, in Aleppo September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib  (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX1372E
Sept. 4, 2013: A Free Syrian Army fighter spray paints an improvised mortar shell as his fellow fighter watches him, in Aleppo (Reuters/Hamid Khatib)
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to fire rockets towards forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad  in Raqqa, eastern Syria REUTERS/Nour Fourat   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX14B3D
Oct. 14, 2013: Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to fire rockets towards forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa (Reuters/Nour Fourat)

Spring 2014:

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs to take cover after launching a mortar towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Jabal al-Akrad area in Syria's northwestern Latakia province February 25, 2014. Picture taken February 25, 2014.  REUTERS/Alaa Khweled (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3FR3Q
Feb. 25, 2014: A Free Syrian Army fighter runs to take cover after launching a mortar

Fall 2014:

Rebel fighters make improvised mortar shells inside a weapons factory in the southern countryside of Idlib September 9, 2014. Picture taken September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR45N3V
Sept. 9, 2014: Rebel fighters make improvised mortar shells inside a weapons factory in the southern countryside of Idlib (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi)
A locally made shell is launched by rebel fighters towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the frontline in al-Breij district of Aleppo December 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Sultan Kitaz (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4HGBQ
Dec 10, 2014: A locally-made shell is launched by rebel fighters towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad at the frontline in al-Breij district of Aleppo (Reuters/Sultan Kitaz)

Spring 2015:

Men fill gas canisters with explosive for usage with a cannon named "Borkan" (Volcano) inside a weapon factory in Aleppo countryside March 5, 2015. The "Borkan" is made out of four tubes attached to a loader, which can fire four shells at a time, and have a range of three kilometres (1.86 miles).    Picture taken March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR4SGAQ
Mar. 5, 2015: Men fill gas canisters with explosives for use with a cannon named “Borkan” (Volcano) inside a weapon factory in Aleppo countryside (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Rebel fighters from Suqour al-Sham Brigade prepare a locally made shell before launching it towards forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad in Idlib countryside March 18, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamad Bayoush (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4TWU7
Mar. 18, 2015: Rebel fighters from Suqour al-Sham Brigade prepare a locally-made shell before launching it towards forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad in Idlib countryside (Reuters/Mohamad Bayoush)
A man builds a cannon named "Borkan" (Volcano) inside a weapon factory in Aleppo countryside, March 5, 2015. The "Borkan" is made out of four tubes attached to a loader, can fire four shells at a time, and have a range of three kilometres (1.86 miles).   Picture taken March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR4SGA1
Mar. 5, 2015: The “Borkan” is made out of four tubes attached to a loader, can fire four shells at a time, and have a range of three kilometres (1.86 miles). (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Al-Shamiyah Front fighters inspect a new locally-made cannon named "Borkan" (Volcano) as it was being launched towards forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad located in Aleppo artillery school, March 7, 2015. The "Borkan" is made out of four tubes attached to a loader, which can fire four shells at a time, and have a range of three kilometres (1.86 miles).  REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4SG9N
Mar. 7, 2015: Al-Shamiyah Front fighters inspect a new locally-made cannon named “Borkan” (Volcano) as it was being launched towards forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad located in Aleppo artillery school (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)

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