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On April 14, a Free Syrian Army group “Fastaqim Kama Umirt” uploaded a video of a TOW missile strike on a KAMAZ truck at a pro-Assad artillery position.

Twitter users noted that the shape of one of the howitzers visible in the video matches a 2A65 (“Msta-B”) howitzer.

Top: TOW strike video frame; bottom left: Msta-B howitzzer; bottom center: D-20 howitzer; bottom right: D-30 howitzer

Top: TOW strike video frame; bottom left: Msta-B howitzzer; bottom center: D-20 howitzer; bottom right: D-30 howitzer

Unlike D-20 and D-30 howitzers, which are used by Syrian government troops, Msta-B howitzers have been repeatedly spotted in Syria accompanied and/or operated by Russian soldiers.

The KAMAZ truck the TOW operator aimed at looks identical to likely Russian KAMAZ trucks filmed by CNN in eastern Syria:

Кадр из репортажа CNN; слева вверху: кадр из видео применения ПТУРа

CNN video frame; top left: TOW strike video frame

In late March, a pro-Assad Facebook group posted a video showing KAMAZ trucks transporting two howitzers similar to those seen in the TOW strike video:

Top: TOW strike video frame; bottom: howitzer transportation video frames

Top: TOW strike video frame; bottom: howitzer transportation video frames

In 2015, howitzers of similar color, likely crewed by Russians, were spotted in a video filmed to the west of Palmyra:

At the time, their presence west of Palmyra was confirmed by a Russian Ministry of Defense map.

After the Palmyra offensive ended, the howitzers with their Russian crews were likely transferred to northern Aleppo where they are currently engaged in an offensive against Syrian rebels (despite ceasefire).

Filming location

The video lacks details for a precise geolocation, but the description says it was filmed in Handarat just to the north of Aleppo. As of April 14, a pro-Assad offensive near Handarat is attempting to completely cut off the rebel-controlled neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo.

Map as of April 1. The approximate filming location is marked in red, the approximate offensive direction is marked with a red arrow.

Map as of April 1. The approximate filming location is marked in red, the approximate offensive direction is marked with a red arrow.

If our analysis of the video is correct, this offensive, just like the one earlier this year in Latakia governorate, is supported by Russian artillery.

If the video indeed shows a TOW strike on Russian vehicles, this would be the second known case during the Russian operation in Syria. On November 24, 2015, a TOW strike from “1st Coastal Division” FSA group destroyed a Mi-8 helicopter and killed one Russian marine.

This video does not allow to assess the losses and/or damage caused by the TOW strike. The rebels claim having destroyed an ammunition truck; however, no second explosion, which is often visible in such cases, can be seen in the video.

P.S. Special thanks to Twitter user @ain92ru for helping in preparing this post.