Turkey and Syria didn’t go to war like international observers warned they might do. This is still a possibility, but the tit-for-tat shelling has stopped and the media have once again switched their focus to the plight of Syrian rebels who are yet to receive the ammunition they have been calling for.
The rebels do seem to have solved part of their supply problem, after managing to capture a number of air defense bases including one near Aleppo on Friday. After a fierce battle that involved a number of FSA units, the Taaneh air base was taken and its stocks looted, including many anti-air missiles the FSA are in desperate need of. Within days the anti-air missiles the FSA so desperately needed were put to use, and one more regime fighter jet was shot down.
In other opposition successes, the FSA were able to take control of the town of Maarat al-Numan, which is strategically situated on the highway that links Aleppo and Damascus. This means that they were able to effectively cut off the regime’s forces in Aleppo, relieving the embattled rebel forces in the city and stretching the Syrian army, who are themselves under immense pressure due to having to fight on so many fronts.
This of course did not go down well with the government, who proceeded to decimate the town from the air using cluster bomb munitions. Banned by most nations, cluster bombs release hundreds of bomblets that can remain unexploded and pose threats for the civilian population for decades. These attacks can be seen as both desperate and ruthless, not only making it hard for the FSA to move around the captured territory but also posing problems for the regime, were they ever to take the area back.
The embedded videos above show one of the regime’s fighter jet’s shot down near Aleppo on Monday. Although it is not confirmed how the rebels brought down the jet, many point to the newly acquired surface to air missiles captured from the Taaneh air base just days before. I came across the video on a number of anti-regime Twitter accounts that constantly post videos and pictures of the unfolding civil war. They are one of the most vital cogs of the opposition, without them, much of what happens in this brutal war would not surface. I chose to use this video as it documents a slow but important shift in the opposition’s battle against the regime, the proliferation of anti-air missiles within the FSA leading to the possible gradual collapse of regime air superiority.
(YouTube: FSA Takes Over Air Base in Aleppo Province)
(YouTube: Anjara, Aleppo Rebels Shoot Down MIG)