The doctored ammunition is believed by rebel leaders to have been infiltrated into the rebels' supplies of munitions by Syrian forces as one element of the ongoing battle between the warring sides, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Salting of the explosive charge within the bullets has principally involved rifle and machine gun cartridges, but also has been discovered in rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds, the Times found in interviews with rebel leaders and fighters and examinations of damaged firearms.
Ghadir Hammoush, commander of a fighting group in Idlib Province, said he knew of five instances of rifles exploding from tampered ammunition.
"You lose both the man and the rifle" in such instances, he said.
Tampered ammunition is mixed in with unaltered rounds, making the shells potentially indiscriminate as to who is harmed, while supplying enemy forces with working ammunition.
Officers and veterans who spoke about the doctored ammunition did so anonymously as the practice is classified. Its legality is uncertain.
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