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Islamists in Syria Using Russian-made Night Vision — Reports

A Russian military officer tests the latest night vision equipment. Vladislav Belogrud / Interpress / TASS

Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra snipers are using Russian-made night vision equipment, Russian military experts have established, the Kommersant newspaper has reported.

Russian military analysts have recently paid special attention to identifying sniper rifles used in Syria, after at least four Russians were been killed by sniper fire, Kommersant reported.

Alexei Buchelnikov, a Russian military adviser with the Syrian army, became the latest Russian military casualty in Syria. He was instructing Syrian troops at an artillery range when a sniper killed him with a single shot from a few hundred meters in almost complete darkness.

While investigating insurgents’ rifles, Russian experts found Russian-made image converter tubes in the night vision equipment. It’s not clear yet how they have made their way to Syria, Kommersant reported.

Russia and the U.S. are the only producers of night vision equipment of the third generation, which allows identifying human shadowgraphs in full darkness from 400 meters distance. 

The U.S. does not export the equipment, except to allies, so it does not fall into the hands of third parties. Russian law also prohibits the export of the third generation equipment except to allies.

No criminal investigation has been launched yet in response to the Russian military experts' findings. A likely explanation, according to Kommersant, is that Russian-made electronic equipment could have reached Syria through third countries that officially receive such equipment or its various components from Russia.

Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra are terrorist organizations banned in Russia.

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