How exactly is restricted US Military Issue equipment getting captured in Syria? [VIDEO]

Grae Stafford Freelance Photographer
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A video released Thursday of an alleged FSA (Free Syrian Army) arms cache captured by Assad forces appears to show two pieces of highly-regulated U.S.-made military equipment worth more than $4,500.

One is a Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) which is issued to US Special Forces and the other is a set of PVS-7 night vision goggles.

Both of these items fall under ITAR,  or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. As such, their ownership outside of the continental United States is highly regulated.

The description on Trijicon’s website of the ACOG (MSRP $1,192) reads: ‘The concept is simple: a durable scope with a reticle that illuminates in low light situations. And the best part is that it doesn’t require batteries. Over 25 years later, the original ACOG stands the test of time and remains one of our most popular items. ACOG 4×32 Scope with Full Line Red Illumination features black crosshairs during daytime and tritium illuminates reticle at night. The reticle ranges out to 800 meters for 5.56 (.223 cal).”

Trijicon ACOG TA01 /

Trijicon ACOG TA01 /

A description of The PVS-7 (MSRP $3,399) reads: “The AN/PVS-7B/D has long been a standard issue Night Observation Device with US Military Forces and their allies. It is the most widely recognized NV unit in the world and features excellent performance and user-friendly controls. The PVS-7 can be configured for hands-free helmet/head mount or hand held operation. It includes a built-in IR illuminator for short-range IR assistance in complete darkness and has an in-unit LED warning light to remind the operator that others wearing NV devices can see the IR source.”

PVS-7 Night Vision Goggles/

PVS-7 Night Vision Goggles/

It is unknown how FSA (Free Syrian Army) troops have managed to acquire these pieces of equipment. Though unlikely, it is possible that the ITAR regulations have been flouted and that both of these items have been mailed from the United States to Syria. It is also possible that these items have managed to travel from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to Syria after having been captured or stolen during military operations there. A third option is that as neither of these items are “lethal” by nature they fall under the “non-lethal aid” being supplied to Syrian rebels by the U.S.

Any attempt to purchase the weapons from a dealer in the United States requires acceptance of a disclaimer. For the ACOG on the website, the disclaimer reads: “Export: The Export of this product without proper licensing is strictly prohibited and falls under ITAR per title 22, CFR, parts 120-130. Please contact manufacturer’s Export Dept. to receive further information on how to obtain proper licensing from the U.S. Department of State.”

For the PVS-7 Night Vision Goggles on the Tactical Night Vision Company website, the disclaimer is much more specific:

“Export of Night Vision Equipment or related accessories (such as manuals) is strictly regulated by the US Department of State in accordance with the guidelines of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). It is a major crime to ship or carry US manufactured night vision devices outside the borders of the United States, punishable by fines and prison sentences. Ignorance of these regulations will not hold up in court. By purchasing night vision equipment from TNVC, you attest that you will not attempt to export or carry this night vision equipment outside the borders of the United States. Also, it illegal to allow a non-US Citizen to look through US Gen3 Night Vision Devices, even on US soil. Again, this is a crime punishable by fines and prison sentences.”

This is not the first time that valuable equipment has been seen in the hands of Syrian rebels. Earlier this week, footage emerged of an American-made Silverado pick up trucks being used by Syrian rebels.

In footage, posted to the video sharing site LiveLeak, a 2013 American Chevrolet Silverado 1500s pickup, equipped with light anti aircraft guns in the flat bed (commonly defined as a “Technical,”) has been seen engaging SAA (Syrian Arab Army) forces.

The truck has received several after market add-ons not available from the Chevy catalogue, including a snappy new desert paint job and a derivative of the Russian ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun with a maximum rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute.

It is also unknown how the pickup (MSRP $21,585) came to be involved in the fighting around Daraa.

A standard Chevrolet 1500s (

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