On March 21, Russian journalist Oleg Blokhin shared photos of U.S. and French ammunition which were found in a former position of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Greater Idlib.
Blokhin’s photos show dozens of containers of 120 mm M933A1 mortar rounds, which are used in the U.S.-made M120. The mortar is a copy of the Israeli Soltam K6. This type of mortars was spotted before with the defunct U.S.-backed New Syrian Army (NSA) in southeast Syria.
The Photos also show several CM5\CM6 38 mm tear gas grenades. These grenades, which are meant to be used for crowd-control, are manufactured by France’s SAE Alsetex.
The M933A1 rounds were likely supplied by the U.S. years ago. Loads of weapons were supplied to Syrian “moderate” opposition group as a part of a train and equip program that run between 2014 and 2017.
The French-made CM5\CM5 grenades, however, were never spotted in Syria before. It’s unclear how HTS acquired these grenades, or how it was planning to use them. Tear gas can be used to simulate the exposure to prohibited chemical weapons.
Greater Idlib militants received support from the Western and Arab countries for years. Now, most of their supplies come from Turkey.