Syrian Arab Army (SAA) service members in Greater Idlib had been armed with man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), a photo released by pro-government activists revealed.
The photo, that was released on August 26, shows two service members of the 45th Special Forces Regiments carrying a 9K32 Strela-2M and a 9K310 Igla-1 MANPADs. The photo was reportedly taken near the al-Zawiya Mount in southern Idlib, which is occupied by Turkish-backed militants.
The Strela-2M has a top firing range of 4,2 km, while the Igla-1 range is up to 5 km. Both systems were developed and made in the Soviet Union.
45 special regiment-front near jabal al Zawia. pic.twitter.com/l2gWRLF1n4
— Spriter (@spriter99880) August 25, 2020
The decision to arm Syrian troops with MANPADs is likely the result of the last battle in Greater Idlib, which saw a large-scale attack by Turkish combat drones. The attack inflicted catastrophic losses on the SAA and its allies.
The deployment of MANPADs will also allow the army to address the growing threat of DIY armed drones actively used by Greater Idlib militants.
Recent reports revealed that the SAA is preparing to launch a new operation in Greater Idlib. The target is reportedly the al-Zawiya Mount. The deployment of MANPADs indicates that a new operation may be indeed around the corner.