Syria: Rebels unveil home-made Volcano cannon and other improvised weapons

Syrian rebels have unveiled their latest weapon in the fight against President Bashar Assad's forces.

The "Borkan" (Volcano) is an improvised multiple rocket launcher made out of a mechanical digger with four pipes attached it. It can fire four shells made out of gas canisters up to three kilometres.

A man builds the "Borkan" (Volcano) out of four tubes attached to a loaderReuters
Men fill gas canisters with explosive for usage with the new cannon named "Borkan" (Volcano) inside a weapon factory in AleppoReuters
Al-Shamiyah Front fighters inspect a new locally-made cannon named "Borkan" (Volcano) in Aleppo artillery school. Made of four tubes attached to a loader which can fire four shells at a time, it has a range of three kilometresReuters

The rebels do have an arsenal of conventional munitions – either captured from the Syrian army or supplied by sympathetic foreign countries. But there is also a thriving cottage industry making additional weapons out of whatever is available.

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Some enterprising rebel groups have even built their own armoured vehicles, operated using video game controllers.

A Syrian rebel walks past Sham II, a home-made armoured vehicle made by the rebels' Al-Ansar brigade, near Aleppo, on December 8, 2012...AFP
A Syrian rebel uses a video game controller to activate the machine gun of Sham II, a homemade armoured vehicle in Bishqatin, west of AleppoAFP

Lacking the resources of Assad's government forces, rebels have had to improvise weapons. Mortar shells are turned on lathes in factories and fired using a variety of improvised launchers. Homemade grenades are launched from giant catapults or customised shotguns.

In this gallery we look at some of the homemade munitions used by the Free Syrian Army.

Syrian rebels prepare to fire a homemade grenade using a slingshot in AleppoAFP
Free Syrian Army fighters smoke cigarettes as they prepare a mortar launcher near Nairab military airport in AleppoReuters
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare to fire an improvised rocket launcher towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern SyriaReuters
Free Syrian Army fighters stand next to a home-made rocket launcher in Sermeen near IdlibReuters
A Free Syrian Army fighter spray paints an improvised mortar shell, as his fellow fighter watches him, in AleppoReuters
Opposition fighters load a homemade rocket launcher during clashes with government forces in the town of Khan Sheikhun, in Syria's Idlib provinceAFP
A Free Syrian Army fighter runs to take cover after launching a mortar towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Jabal al-Akrad area in Latakia provinceReuters
Members of the Free Syrian Army work on an improvised mortar shell in Deir al-ZorReuters
Syrian brothers who used to be musicians make homemade explosives for the Free Syrian Army in the Ma'ar Shamarine village near IdlibReuters
Opposition fighters with the Martyrs Brigade use a tablet to help fire a homemade mortar in the al-Tadamin neighbourhood of DamascusAFP
A Syrian army photo shows homemade weapons left behind by rebels after the army seized control of the city of Qusayr and the surrounding region in Homs provinceAFP
A man paints a homemade multiple rocket launcher in the Jubaila neighbourhood of Deir EzzorAFP
Abu Tarek, a 74-year-old retired army officer, tries on a homemade gas-mask assembled using a plastic bottle, coal, cotton, gauze, cola, and cardboard, for protection against chemical weapons, in Syria's northern Latakia provinceAFP
A Free Syrian Army fighter displays homemade bombs made from ornamental balls in the old city of AleppoReuters
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Tahrir al Sham brigade use a shotgun to fire an improvised grenade at Syrian Army soldiers in the Arabeen neigbourhood of DamascusReuters
A Free Syrian Army fighter makes improvised mortar shells at a weapons factory in AleppoReuters
A Free Syrian Army fighter lights a homemade grenade before launching it on a catapult in the direction of forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's Karm al-Jabal districtReuters

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