Syrian rebels running out of ammunition as government presses offensive

The Washington Post reports: Syrian rebels battling the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad are running out of ammunition as black market supplies dry up, neighboring countries tighten their borders and international promises of help fail to materialize, according to rebel commanders and defected soldiers who have crossed into this Turkish border town in recent days in a quest for money to buy arms.

They describe what appear to be desperate conditions for the already lightly armed and loosely organized rebel force, made up of defected soldiers and civilians who in recent months have banded together in the name of the Free Syrian Army, transforming what had been an overwhelmingly peaceful uprising into an armed revolt.

The rebels have long been appealing to the outside world for military intervention and weapons to help their struggle. But they are acknowledging for the first time that the rebellion, at least the armed portion of it, might be faltering in the face of a concerted government offensive aimed at definitively crushing the year-old revolt.

“Day after day, the Free Syrian Army keeps fighting and fighting, but day after day, we are running out of ammunition, and, eventually, we just have to leave our area,” said Abu Yazen, 26, a defected soldier who joined the rebels in the summer but fled to Turkey this month with five comrades after they ran out of bullets in the northern province of Idlib.

He is living at one of the civilian refugee camps set up by the Turkish government, among scores of dejected fighters who have been showing up on a daily basis in and around the frontier town of Antakya as their ammunition runs out and hope fades that the international community will come to their rescue.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email