According to the caption on the video, the strike killed one occupant and the now-destroyed Humvee was mounted with a 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun.
It is unclear if the U.S. Humvee is one that the Islamic State might have captured from Iraqi security forces during its blitz across parts of northern Iraq last year, or if it’s from U.S.-supplied Iraqi militias who have since entered Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s fledging forces. But one thing is for certain: that truck was built in the U.S.A.
The missile launcher–a BGM-71 TOW (the acronym stands for Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command link-guided missile)–has appeared in the hands of certain U.S.-supplied Syrian rebel groups since early 2014. They have also been captured by other non-vetted groups like Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.
While U.S. efforts — namely the Pentagon-led Syrian train and equip program — have floundered, the steady supply of TOW missiles to groups associated with the Free Syrian Army has been moderately effective. The aging but reliable systems have proven their worth against Syrian armored vehicles participating in renewed offensives to retake territory north of the city of Hama and outside of Aleppo.
In many places, the offensives, backed by Russian airpower and artillery as well as Iranian ground forces, have stalled. However, the Syrian Army has recently retaken the Kuweires airbase outside of Aleppo. The airbase had been under siege by the Islamic State for three years, and had only been able to receive supplies from the air.
As the war enter its fifth year and the number of deaths crest well over 250,000, leaders from 20 countries have met in Vienna in an attempt to solidify a potential cease fire and subsequent plan for peace in the coming months.