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Where Syria's opposition groups get their rockets (+video)

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In the Abu Bakr Al Sadiq headquarters, a high-ceilinged room that looks like a former workshop, leaders recently showed off several of their rockets and other handiwork. On the floor sat a clear plastic bag full of handmade grenades. One man in camouflage fatigues sat behind a desk passing out ammunition to fighters. The group's leader asked that its location not be revealed to avoid being targeted by regime bombs. 

Many of those in the room show signs of having been in close proximity to the fighting: One man has a cast on his leg; another a shrapnel wound in his soldier. The brigade's leader, Yasser El Sheikh, laughs when asked how he injured his fourth finger, which is now in a splint. 

Mr. Sheikh says his group has manufactured close to 1,000 rockets. They send all of their weapons to the Tawhid Division, one of the largest fighting groups in Aleppo, for use in battle there. He says, with annoyance, that Tawhid has begun posting videos on YouTube taking credit for weapons he says were manufactured by his brigade. 

The brigade's weapons manufacturers are a combination of former military men with weapons expertise and civilians who are chemical or other engineers. Some of their information comes from the Internet, but the learning curve was steep. One grenade-maker says he twice blew up rooms in his house while learning how to mix explosives. 

Like many of the groups making improvised weapons for the Syrian opposition, the brigade sometimes uses harvested explosives from unexploded regime bombs. They also make explosives using fertilizer and other, easy to come by ingredients, such as sugar. The group must also manufacture the propellant used in their rockets.

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