The following is arguably one of the most jaw-dropping videos we’ve featured in our dedicated Combat Footage section. It took place in the battle for the heart of the Syrian city of Hama back in 2017 and covers a battle between the Islamist militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and ISIS militants. It begins with an intense firefight with tracer rounds flying left, right, and center.

Suddenly, a Soviet-era T-62 battle tank commanded by fighters of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham storms towards the ISIS positions crushing one fighter before making a rapid right turn and crushing another. Supporting infantry provides covering fire and are no doubt communicating threats to the tank crew throughout the video.

Whilst people being run over by tanks in war is nothing new, the introduction of drones into modern warfare enabled this insane footage of a tank doing a mechanized bayonet charge. The driver must have been bad tempered like a hooked knitting craft

The second of the ISIS fighters targetted by the tank looks as though he may have missed the worst of the collision but it’s also likely he was thrown aside by the impact of the tank. Regardless, if either of them survived being run over then the incoming HTS fighters would have eliminated them.

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham is Arabic for the Organization for the Liberation of the Levant and is a violent Sunni Islamist militant group with around 20,000 members and is currently involved in the Syrian Civil War. It was formed in January 2017 as a merger between Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra Front) and other Islamist groups. The more radical members and dedicated Salafists joined ISIS, who promptly became an enemy of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

ISIS needs little introduction. It stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Officially known as the Islamic State and also known by its Arabic-language acronym Daesh. ISIS is a militant group and a former unrecognized proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Salafi jihadist doctrine of Sunni Islam. It’s followers have carried out a range of horrifying crimes against humanity during war and peace.

ISIS Fighters
Fighters of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

What’s the story behind the Syrian Civil war?

The Syrian civil war began in 2011 and continues to rage into its tenth year. It is being fought between the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies such as Iran and Russia, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The war is currently the second deadliest of the 21st century.

The Syrian Civil War erupted during the Arab Spring protests in 2011. Discontent with the long-reigning Assad regime turned into protests which were subsequently put down with violent force by the Assad regime. Shortly after, the discontent erupted into a conflict spiral.

ISIS FIGHTERS

The war is multi-sided and features a range of domestic factions: the Syrian Armed Forces and its international allies, a loose alliance of mostly Sunni opposition rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), Salafi jihadist groups (including Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham), the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and the ISIS. However, the Syrian Civil War is most certainly an international conflict that features various countries being either directly involved or providing support to one or another faction such as Iran, Russia, Turkey, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Almost every side involved in the Syrian Civil War has been heavily criticized for their behavior or actions. The Assad government, ISIS, opposition rebel groups, Russia, Turkey, and the U.S.-led coalition have all been accused of human rights breaches and war crimes. The war has caused the most serious refugee crisis in modern times.

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Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.