Syrian rebels down aircraft

2012-12-02 14:08
Syria rebel. (AP, File)

Syria rebel. (AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Syria
    Options and Implications for Lebanon and the Region Now R196.00
    buy now

Darret Ezza - Syrian rebels say a former army missile specialist in their ranks used captured shoulder-launched weapons to down two government aircraft in as many days last month.

Rebel commanders said that the army helicopter shot down on 27 November and the fighter jet shot down the following day were both hit with Russian-made surface-to-air missiles captured from an army base west of Syria's second city Aleppo in mid-November.

Defence analysts cited by the Western media had said that the aircraft were likely brought down with surface-to-air missiles provided from abroad, including by the Gulf state of Qatar, an outspoken champion of arming the rebels, over the opposition of the United States.

The rebels said the expertise to use the SA-16 Gimlet missiles, which they said they captured from Base 46 along with other heavy weaponry, came from within their own ranks in the form of a former army missile specialist.

"This is Musa Abu Omar. He shot down both of the aircraft," said Abu Abdel Rahman, a leading rebel commander in the town of Darret Ezza, 30km northwest of Aleppo, as he introduced the fighter to AFP.

"Both the missiles came from Base 46," Abu Omar said. "We've got enough of them now to bring down the whole Syrian air force," he boasted, refusing to give any specific numbers.

Speciality

Asked where he got his training on the use of the SA-16, a missile most famous for its use by Saddam Hussein's forces against coalition aircraft during the 1991 Gulf war, Abu Omar said: "It was my specialism in the army during my three year service."

The 27-year-old showed AFP a photograph of himself holding a shoulder-launched missile that he said was one of the two he fired. The picture's authenticity could not be independently verified.

Abu Omar said instruction was now being given to other rebel fighters.

"We'll impose our own no-fly zone without any need from help from foreign governments," he added in reference to the repeated refusals of Western governments to heed opposition calls to intervene to close the skies to President Bashar al-Assad's warplanes as they did in Libya last year.

Abu Omar recalled how on 27 November the rebels received intelligence that a government helicopter was due to carry out a resupply mission to the massive Sheikh Suleiman base, near Darret Ezza, which has been under rebel siege for months.

Threat to government

"Our information was that it would resupply the base, then return to Aleppo with some generals and other senior officer. So we laid in wait and I fired when the aircraft took off again," Abu Omar told AFP in an interview.

"We knew that the regime would attempt to retaliate the following the day... so we laid a new ambush," the 27-year-old said.

The rebels' acquisition of surface-to-air missiles poses a significant threat to the government's increasing reliance on its air power in its war against the rebels, particularly in their stronghold in the northwest.

"It's a turning point," said Riad Kahwaji of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) told AFP after the two aircraft were downed.

But there have been contradictory reports about the likely source of the missiles with the Washington Post reporting on Thursday that they were likely part of a consignment of up to 40 supplied from abroad.

Some of the missiles were supplied by Qatar, the newspaper reported, citing two Middle Eastern intelligence officials it did not identify.

"It should be worrying to everyone," one of the officials said. "When Assad is finished, terrorists could end up with these, and commercial flights would be at risk."

Washington has consistently opposed providing SAMs to the rebels for fear they could fall into the wrong hands.

Read more on:    syria  |  syria conflict
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Don`t judge so quickly or expect too much, be more accepting and understanding and make space for fun and spontaneity. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.