Footage Shows Syrian Rebels Taking Out Regime Aircraft
Footage has emerged which appears to illustrate Syrian rebels' increasing success in targeting the Syrian air force, as the ongoing civil war continues to grind down the Syrian army's stock of military hardware.
The videos are mostly from the area of Aleppo, where fierce fighting has been raging as pro-regime forces seek to take back control of Syria's second city.
Infighting between rebel groups has reportedly hamstrung their effectiveness in fighting back against the regime offensive, but in recent days a number of Islamist brigades have called for unity in the face of the ongoing onslaught by Syrian army forces backed by an assortment of Shia militias.
Much of the footage demonstrates how rebels are making up for their lack of sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry by targeting military aircraft on the ground, using Chinese-developed HJ-8 anti-tank missiles, which are portable and relatively easy to deploy.
Most of their successes appear to be against government helicopters, although several clips - some of which cannot be verified - purports to show rebels successfully downing air force jets as well.
Targeting helicopters on the ground:
Wreckage of a helicopter downed in Syrian countryside:
Wreckage of regime aircraft in Raqqa
In unverified footage, rebel claim to shoot down regime aircraft over Aleppo
Meanwhile, Syrian government aircraft have been pounding the strategic rebel-held highway town of Qara, near the country's border with Lebanon.
“Since the morning, the town of Qara has been hit by air strikes,” AFP quoted Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman as saying.
“Warplanes bombarded the town heavily yesterday (Saturday). Regime troops are trying to storm it and to drive the rebels out,” Rahman added.
The attacks appear to be part of a long-awaited pro-regime offensive on the strategically-important Qalamoun region, aimed at cutting off rebel supply-lines with Lebanon.