Dramatic new video footage shows the Free Syrian Army (FSA) battling Assad's forces in the critically strategic city of Idlib in North-western Syria.
Idlib is the connector route between Aleppo and the Assad-dominated port of Latakia on the Mediterranean coastal area.
The originally rebel-published video highlights the rebels blowing up a massive Assad regime building that they had tunneled under. A rebel “sniper” then uses an M-40 recoilless rifle to fire into the building that had just been leveled.
The rebel snipes at his target for about 5 minutes before the Assad forces are able to locate his nest and return counter-fire to his position. The Syrian rebels survive the Assad forces' counter-fire, fire one more M-40 round, and appear to start to move to a new M-40 sniper nest. “Alluhu Akbar” or “G-d is great” can be heard repeatedly throughout the video, signaling success.
The M-40 sports a 105mm (4.1”) diameter cartridge that can be armed with either a regular high-explosive warhead or an anti-tank HEAT warhead. The M-40 is “recoilless” in that there is virtually no recoil from the firing of the M-40 round – like there is in the firing of a mortar or a Katyusha rocket.
“HEAT” stands for High Explosive Anti-Tank, where there are usually two different components, one that pre-explodes or disarms the tank’s explosive-reactive armor, and a high-speed projectile that then passes through the remaining tank armor into the core of the tank.
The M-40 has an effective firing range from about 1 kilometer to a maximum range of about 6.8 kilometers (about 3 miles). It is widely available throughout the world and is very widely used by the rebels against the Assad-Iranian-Hezbollah forces in Syria. The M-40 can be mounted on a jeep, but in the Syrian theater has been mostly used on a tripod as is shown in the video.
Lessons for Israel
There are important lessons to be learned from the video regarding what could happen if Israel ever withdraws from Judea and Samaria. For instance, an M-40 is small enough to be easily transported into and concealed in a high-rise Palestinian residential apartment building, from where a Palestinian terrorist could destroy with pinpoint accuracy anything with 6.8 kilometers of his nest.
The M-40 could then be quickly moved out of the apartment, making Israeli return fire on that specific apartment entirely ineffective. And, the IDF would be blamed for firing into a Palestinian civilian building. Route 1 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is highly exposed and in easy TOW anti-tank or M-40 range of Palestinian villages. Jerusalem would be unreachable, since the Palestinian state would include the mountains surrounding Route 1 from the north and the south.