Terrorists of the Ansar al-Islam Front have showed their stock of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.
A video, showing members of the Ansar al-Islam Front terrorist group, flaunting shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, was published online. It is the first known incident, when Syrian terrorists possess such weapons.
According to terrorists, they have a “good number” of the SA-7 Strela-2 missiles, which are planned to be used against fighter jets of the Syrian Air Force by the Ansar al-Islam Front and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Daraa and Quneitra. Though, the video did not show a process of usage of the weapons, one of the fighters noted that the group has “several points of air defense” in order to counter any aircraft of the Syrian Air Force.
“We, in Ansar al-Islam Front, have distributed several points of air defence to counter any attempt by the Syrian warplanes or helicopters which bombs points in Quneitra province. We have good number of these missiles,” the Middle East Eye news portal quoted his words.
“We, in Ansar al-Islam Front and factions of the FSA, are distributing equipment and soldiers toward Tal al-Hara, Mashara, Sandaniya and Jabata. And in the coming days you will hear good news from Quneitra and its surroundings,” another terrorists, identified as Abu Bilal said. “There are a lot of preparations for ambushes and units deployed on the front lines. There are units of air defence, infantry elements and other several sets of our factions and the factions of the FSA in Quneitra and its surroundings.”
As the Hasan Mustafa blog explained: “Groups apply for missiles for specific operations, and small batches are supplied by the MOC (Turkey and Jordan-based Military Operations Command) as needed. No more than a handful is given to a group at any time. In order to prove the rebel groups are not selling them or giving them away, each launch must be recorded and spent casings returned to the MOC. It is due to these requirements that there is such a wealth of knowledge regarding which groups have been supplied with and fielded these weapons.”
Heretofore, the US feared that Syrian terrorist groups can use portable anti-aircraft missiles against civilian aircraft of the US and its allies, and banned sending of such a type of weaponry to Syrian ‘rebels’. But, in September, anonymous Washington government officials told the Reuters news agency that success of the operation of Bashar al-Assad government’s troops in Aleppo has “heightened” the possibility that the ban on anti-aircraft missiles for ‘opposition’ groups will be lifted by the Obama administration.
There also were some reports that a large number of the Soviet-made SA-7 Strela-2 missiles went missing from military facilities in Libya, after Muammar Gaddafi was ousted. Reportedly, the missiles fetched dozens of thousands of dollars on the black market. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) allegedly conducted a covert operation in the country to find and return the missing missiles in order to prevent terrorist groups to get them into their hands. It remains unclear whether the missiles obtained by the Ansar al-Islam Front came from that cache, or even if they are combat-ready.