Rebels might have occasional successes in bringing down some of the helicopter gunships and fighter jets taking part in bombarding their towns and villages, but the battle cannot be won without serious support from external parties. If Turkey and the world want to make a real difference in this fight, rebels should be given what they need to neutralize Assad’s air power. Otherwise, the pounding of Syria back into the Middle Ages, in terms of minds as well as infrastructure, will continue.
On funding of Rebel Groups
To be clear on the issue of funding of rebel groups, by now both Saudis and Qataris are funding Islamist and Salafist militias, it's the not the ideology that matters anymore, but loyally. Still, the larger groups on the ground are so intermeshed that they use smaller units that keep changing affiliations so all end up getting funding from both sides. The funding is still minimal of course, and most of it disappears along the way before reaching the fighters on the ground.
On Al-Arabiyah Leaks
I really don't know what to make of the current documents being published by Al-Arabiya channel. They look and sound too good to be true. On the other hand, the regime has often done things to damage itself and its image and seems unconcerned about that. From my own experiences with security apparatuses, I know that the amount of paperwork they generate is prodigious, it's really a wonder that we haven't had such leaks before. Now that we have so many defectors from security apparatuses, it makes sense that leaks are happening. Still, how can we authenticate anything really?
The Douma Martyrs Brigade declare capturing a military airport in Eastern Ghoutah, Damascus Province, even as regime forces continue to pound the region with helicopter gunships and MIGs http://youtu.be/miHEfZ3GPls Rebels also took control of a number long-range missiles http://youtu.be/jOFFrRlCV3M The Brigade is part of the Syria Martyrs Brigades, led by Jamal Maarouf, a pragmatist rebel leader based in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh Region in Idlib Province. Attacking airports have become part of their strategy to try to neutralize Assad air power, and they have done this before in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo. This is the first such attack in Damascus. More on Jamal and the rebels can be found in this report, and my recent op-ed in Foreign Policy.
Still in Eastern Ghoutah and in Douma, rebels bring down a helicopter gunship http://youtu.be/fIMGrNjPFe4 , http://youtu.be/nlpbXWyqsLQ , http://youtu.be/BCgrz1HVJF4 Wreckage http://youtu.be/-akAwNWhQjA , http://youtu.be/kPZ16058FM8 The moment when the chopper was hit http://youtu.be/XQspTyWV_2k
In nearby Saqba, many were killed http://youtu.be/O_8x_d8-kBE , http://youtu.be/lR8S0sIarww in a new massacre caused by continuous shelling in which MIGs took part http://youtu.be/5SNEYokSjV4
In the town of Mouhassan, Deir Ezzor Province, rebels managed to bring down a fighter jet: plane on its way down http://youtu.be/-W8f7bZDrLM Wreckage http://youtu.be/BLniTBwvYbU Rebels find the parachutes of the pilot http://youtu.be/6bQ44B9HbNw
Meanwhile, MIGs pound the neighborhood of Sakhour in Aleppo City http://youtu.be/JNfPTlKe9_4 , http://youtu.be/ID6ZWdWOciQ As heavy artillery pound the neighborhood of Sulaiman Al-Halabi http://youtu.be/UJJWMaeTJkU
In Homs City, the pounding of restive neighborhoods with missiles intensified: Khaldiyeh http://youtu.be/pO_1D0dh-bc , http://youtu.be/EKNKS-MrneQ , http://youtu.be/wHmStU-5NXE