Student Co-author

CGU Graduate

Document Type



Politics and Economics (CGU)

Publication Date



Political Science


This data set consists of twenty-one teleoperated weapons systems used by terrorist and insurgent groups. It is worth noting that there are many more systems’ images available, but no group affiliation could be associated with them, which is why they were not included in this research project. The plethora of videos and photos on social media indicates that terror and insurgent groups are increasingly turning to improvised weaponry use on the battlefield. One class of improvised weapon that is emerging is remote controlled sniper rifles and machine guns. They are being used across Syria, Iraq, and a lone case in Libya as early as 2011. Typically, rifles or machine guns are improvised to be secured on a base—either mobile or stationary—and linked to cables, which are connected to a remote and screen. Some systems are more refined than others, such as with cameras, but all have at least proven to be somewhat effective. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was at the forefront of using improvised weaponry for the better part of 2013, based on what is still available on social media. But other rebel groups as well as Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliates caught on to the trend quickly. In early 2016, videos and Twitter images even surfaced of improvised weaponry developed by Iraqi military forces. There is a level of sophistication and practicality of these groups to use what is available and create a weapon that can cause a great deal of damage. Social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube take down undesirable content periodically, but the majority of these system videos have remained online

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© 2016 Robert J. Bunker

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