DIY Arms: Garage-Job Hand Grenades in Syria.
One of the most common complaints from rebels in Syria is the dearth of ammunition for their small arms and light weapons, and the high prices for the same. Rebels have said for months that ammunition shortages have been a brake on their momentum, and that their primary weakness lies in the absence of robust supply.
In this environment, one type of weapon has become highly visible — locally made hand-grenades. In every rebel unit we have visited, we have seen such arms.
In Aleppo, three different fighting units had weapons of similar design, as shown here. These are short sections of pipe that have been filled with home-made explosive, fitted with a piece of time fuze that ends in a blasting cap, and then sealed at their ends. I know, I know: They resemble Bugs Bunny ACME bombs. Don’t fool yourself. They can be quite effective, if imperfect. (Tyler Hicks and I watched one thrown at the front lines near the Hanano military base, and it worked, though the fuze’s burn time did feel a tad long for a fast-moving fight.)
The fuzes are lit with lighter or other small source of flame. Different fuze lengths, as seen on the small display above and again on two different grenades shown in the center of this photo spread) mean different burn times.
Such weapons and their many cousins, as we have noted here and here, are interesting not merely for the military utility but what they suggest about the social underpinnings of the uprising, and, as ever, about the nature and costs of the regional arms trade this year.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS
Hand-grenades with a simple time fuze. By the author. Aleppo. This month.