On November 10, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) discovered dozens of missiles inside three large shipping containers around Uqayribat town during a search operation in the eastern Hama countryside.
Although Uqayribat town was captured by the SAA back on September 1, the SAA is still conducting search operations around the town to find all the weapons caches left behind by ISIS fighters.
After a close examination, it became clear that the captured missiles were Soviet-made R-3s short range air-to-air missiles. The R-3s is guided by infrared homing, and has a range of over 35km. Mig-21s and early models of Mig-23 are usually armed with R-3s.
ISIS got those R-3s missiles from the Tabqa airbase after capturing it from the SAA on 28 August 2014. The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq even published photos of the missiles then.
While ISIS didn’t have any warplanes to arm it with the missiles, the terrorist organization tried to turn air-to air missiles into surface-to-air missiles. When the SAA recaptured Palmyra airbase on 22 December 2016, the SAA found what appears to be an R-40 air-to-air missile on a DIY ground launcher.
ISIS previously captured dozens of R-40 air-to-air missiles from the Palmyra airbase on 26 May 2015. Some of the missiles were captured in workshops and laps of ISIS in Raqqa city, and even in the Iraqi city of Mosul. This proves that ISIS made serious attempts to turn these missiles into surface-to-air missile. However, it failed.
Recapturing this type of missiles from ISIS is for sure a very important thing because it limits the ISIS access to a relatively “sophisticated” weapon technologies.