Syrian rebels are using iPads to guide mortar shells

September 17, 2013

A member of the 'Ansar Dimachk' Brigade, part of the 'Asood Allah' Brigade which operates under the Free Syrian Army, uses an iPad during preparations to fire a homemade mortar at one of the battlefronts in Jobar, Damascus September 15, 2013. REUTERS/ Mohamed Abdullah (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Syria is host to one of the deadliest conflicts playing out on Earth right now. So it's a surprise to see, in the photo above, what many Americans consider a household item — an iPad — being deployed by Syrian rebels as an instrument of war.

The App Store is filled with targeting apps for sport shooters and military professionals. But those are mostly marketed to gun owners, not rebels raining shells on distant targets. What are these guys using?

According to Business Insider, the rebels may be trying to use a digital level to help them aim their mortar tube.

The Syrian opposition has been known to take a DIY approach to warfare before; some of their inventions include catapults, giant slingshots, even a rudimentary armored vehicle that's equipped with a remote-controlled machine gun. But this is the first time we've seen a high-end Apple product appear in the conflict.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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