Remotely-operated sniper rifles and machines guns are becoming a powerful weapon for rebel groups in Iraq and Syria -- including the Islamic State -- allowing fighters to kill with the ease of pressing a button.
The remote-controlled guns -- common in the U.S. military -- are being adopted by the Free Syrian Army, Shia militias and Kurdish fighters in Iraq as well as jihadist groups, like ISIS, the blog WarIsBoring.com reported.
According to the blog -- which cites an August report by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office -- there are 20 distinct teleoperated weapons spotted in Iraq and Syria that can be traced to specific armed factions.
Such guns are used by militaries around the world in countries like Israel and South Korea. The U.S., which has thousands mounted on tanks and vehicles, is testing out a new machine-gun robot called MAARS, the blog reported.
But the remotely-controlled guns are growing in numbers among rebel groups looking for a cheap way to operate deadly weapons using personal computers and cameras.
“It is evident by these cases — and others not listed — that terrorists and insurgents are increasingly turning to teleoperated weaponry to support and augment their forces in battle,” authors Robert Bunker and Alma Keshavarz wrote in their report. “This is especially the case in the Aleppo region of Syria that has become an ‘incubator of experimentation’ with regard to these systems.”
“In many cases, if not all, they are using expert technicians and engineers to fashion robotics that will function as remote controlled weapons,” they wrote. “It is troublesome to wonder how well they would do if they had better materials — potentially making something that could actually match the weaponry developed in the United States.”