Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life in Homs, Syria

Shot over the course of several days this month, the images depict the chaos inside the city as Syrian government forces intensified their bombardment of the city, a renewed onslaught that has claimed over 300 lives in the past five days according to opposition activists.

The footage shows an unequal battle as armed rebels claiming to be from the Free Syrian Army attempt to defend Homs and its residents from a growing barrage of artillery, tank and sniper fire.

"We don't have the same capabilities to retaliate with the same power, because he [Assad] has tanks and we only have this rifle," one of the men said as he pointed to a weapon in his comrade's hands.

Shielded in the corridors of a deserted building once occupied by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, the rebels are seen moving carefully from one position to another overlooking suspected sniper hide outs.

"We are just here to respond and defend the local residents from Assad's army snipers," the rebel explained.
There is a scoped rifle at 0:41 into the video, which I could not identify, which is apparently being used in an anti-sniper role. I would be interested if any of the readers could identify what it is.

A couple observations on the rebels use of weapons. First, one of the rebels is shown using the magazine as a forward grip. This is a bad practice because twisting or pushing on the magazine could result in a feeding malfunction. Second, another segment showed a man with his left hand wrapped around the front of the magazine and front end of the receiver with his fingers wrapped so far around that they are almost touching the cocking handle. Again, this is poor handling. If the cocking handle struck the man's fingers, it not only could hurt, but, more importantly, could prevent the bolt carrier from going fully forward into battery. There is a reason for the front grip, and the AK grip actually has a small bump on the rear of the front grip that is designed to fit up against the back of the hand, and encourage a proper hold on the weapon.

The battle wounds should be a reminder of the importance of one-handed emergency compression bandages (aka, Israeli bandages) and QuikClot or similar trauma packings to stop and control bleeding.

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