MIDEAST > Rebels down fighter jet in northern Syria: witness

AMMAN - Reuters

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REUTERS file photo

REUTERS file photo

Rebel fighters trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad shot down a fighter jet as it flew over the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province, a witness said.

The witness, an independent journalist who asked to remain anonymous, said rebel fighters were attacking a military base near the town when the jet flew over and rebels shot it down with anti-aircraft guns.

Vastly outgunned, rebels say they need surface-to-air missiles to take down planes and helicopters used by the Syrian military to bombard opposition strongholds.

Fighters use outdated anti-aircraft machine guns that are welded to pickup trucks but they are inaccurate and useless if the military aircraft fly above a certain altitude.

On August 27 fighters shot down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus and three days later rebels said they had brought down a jet in Idlib, near the Turkish border.

Activists say more than 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the 18-month-old revolt in Syria, which began with peaceful street protests that provoked a military crackdown and mushroomed into civil war.

Despite calling for Assad to step down, the West is wary of arming disparate rebel groups.



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ilker avni

9/23/2012 4:29:15 AM

They should try and capture the pilots,as reports say that they are Iranian pilots among the Syrian airforce.Turkey should give them anti aircraft missiles,other wise the free syrian army and oppostion fighters will lose the civil war,which would create even more refugees.Turkey it seems is backing away from the Syrian conflict,Turkey has lost interest,without the American backing,Turkey wont do anything on its own,
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