The embattled regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad has unleashed its air forces against fighters of the rebel Free Syrian Army in the city of Aleppo and other battlegrounds. Government Mi-8 Hip helicopters and MiG-23 and L-39 jets have added gun- and rocket-fire to the army’s indiscriminate artillery barrages.
But the rebels are not defenseless. And according to Al Arabiya and the U.K. Mirror, FSA fighters have received 14 Stinger shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. If the reports are true — and that’s a big “if” — the Stingers would reinforce the rebels’ existing air-defense arsenal of heavy machine guns and at least one captured ZSU-23-4 gun vehicle.