Russian intervention has unintended effect of unifying Syrian rebel forces

The Daily Beast reports: As Charles Lister, an analyst of Syria’s multifarious insurgency at the Brookings Institution, calculated, the use of the TOW missile has increased a staggering 850% since the Russians started bombing, a metric that bolstered by press accounts featuring rebels attest to sudden bonanza of the tank-killer. Also reappearing on the battlefield is the RBG-6 multiple grenade launcher, a munition purchased by the Saudis from Croatia and imported into southern Syria via Jordan in 2013. (That supply line was abandoned after the launcher was found in the hands of jihadists not long after its import.)

Evidence of rebel victories is everywhere on social media. Here’s a video of Liwa Suquour al-Jabal destroying an artillery gun with a TOW missile in Khirbat al Naqus, near Latakia. Here’s one of a BMP being wiped out with a TOW near al-Qarassi, Aleppo, a town the rebels appear to have sacked, along with Tel Qurha, which lies just hundreds of meters south of a regime army base. According to the opposition-run Local Coordination Committees, Jaysh al-Fateh seized the village of Mansoura in Hama today after intense combat with pro-regime forces. The FSA participated in that operation, too, because the same anti-tank missile system was put to use in Mansoura.

Mohammed Rasheed, a fighter with Suqur al-Ghab, one of the CIA-backed militias fighting in Hama, told The Daily Beast, “We have managed to liberate two towns; Mea’ar Kabi in the northern [suburb] of Hama and Lahaya. We have been planning for this operation since the start of the Russian invasion. We wanted to reverse the situation and attack them instead of just defending ourselves.” Rasheed said that his brigade destroyed 23 regime tanks and killed 15 Syrian soliders — in the last 24 hours. “What helped us in this operation is that we all got united and fought as one army.” [Continue reading…]

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