Images have surfaced showing a T-72 tank operated by Syrian Democratic Forces featuring a Romanian registration plate.
The Syrian Democratic Forces are an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen and Circassian militias in the Syrian Civil War. Founded in October 2015, the SDF fights to create a secular, democratic and federal Syria.
Prime opponents of the SDF are the Islamic State and other elements of the Syrian rebellion who cooperate with Army of Conquest, Fatah Halab and other Salafist and Islamist groups and coalitions.
The SDF has focused primarily on IS, successfully driving them from important strategic areas, such as Al-Hawl, Shaddadi, Tishrin Dam and Manbij.
The T-72 is a Soviet designed second-generation main battle tank that entered production in the early 70’s.
About 20,000 T-72 tanks were built, making it one of the most widely produced post–World War II tanks, second only to the T-54/55 family.
The T-72 was widely exported and saw service in 40 countries and in numerous conflicts. Improved variants are still being built for export customers.
Syria operated more than 1600 T-72s in 2010, many upgraded by Russia, 122 by Italy and many by the Syrians according to Jane’s. T-72Bs and T-72BMs were delivered by Russia in 2015-2016.
A Kurdish activist tweeted:
Photos from liberation of Um Hosh and Um Qarra by Efrîn SDF today after clashes with ISIS terrorists. pic.twitter.com/OTrx9Xwpcr
— Dr Partizan (@DrPartizan_) August 30, 2016
It is understood that the plate is civilian plate and Bucharest registered.
There is a very good chance this is a joke.
The tank seems to be an older T-72 model with various add-ons. Romania has none in active service, but does have some in storage.
If Romania were to export tanks to Syria, they wouldn’t leave such obvious markings.
Who knows? Maybe someone took the plate from a Davis and stuck it on a tank for a joke?
That’s it for this minor mystery.