The French daily «France Soir» released an article doubed “Mathieu Morant «Etat islamique et chars d’assaut: comment les djihadistes emploient leurs blindés en Irak et en Syrie»” which provides a look at ways how the ISIS terrorist group utilizes its battle tanks in Syria and Iraq. Journalists of France Soir studied 68 videos, depicting ISIS military operations since January 2016.
Only 17 studied videos (25%) include footage of ISIS terrorists operating battle tanks: 15 of these videos were made in Syria, 2 videos were made in Iraq.
- Syria: 5 times ISIS battle tanks were spotted in the province of Homs, 3 times – near the city of Deir Ezzor, 2 times – the area of Damascus, 2 times – the province of al-Hasakah, 1 time – the province of Raqqah, 1 time – the province of Aleppo, 1 time – the province of Hama;
- Iraq: 1 time – the province of Nineveh, 1 time – the Al-Jazirah region in northern Iraq.
Using these numbers, the article concluded that ISIS mostly used battle tanks in battles in Syria because there were udisadvantaged circumstances for the usage of battle tanks in Iraq (an alleged high activity of Iraqi and US-led coalition warplanes and attack helicopters). In 2016 in Iraq, a majority of ISIS military operations had a guirella essence: no classic warfare, no battle tanks.
In general, in Syria, ISIS uses 2-3 battle tanks in every area of active military actions. Their aim is to provide a support for the main deployed forces. If 4-5 battle tanks are involved, it could be described as a large-scale operation by the terrorist group.
The collected videos allow to conclude that ISIS uses next versions of battle tanks: T-55 (including modernized version), T-72 Ural, T-62, T-72M1.
According to the article, ISIS uses its battle tanks for a mobile fire support, strikes against fortified positions and air fields. The terrorist group also used battle tanks to support attacks of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.
Seprately, there were two cases of usage of battle tanks in an urban warfare in the city of Deir Ezzor and in a village in the province of Hasakah.
The article emphasizes that battle tanks belonging to ISIS were not used against battle tanks beloning to enemies of the terrorist group. This is explained by a high number of anti-tank guided missiles in the hands of ISIS terrorists.
Battle tanks are an important part of the arsenal used by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However, the terrorist group has enough other tools and weapons which it successfully utilizes at the Syrian-Iraq battlefield.