The French journalist Mani embedded with the insurgents of the insurgent Farouq brigade near Talbiseh in Syria. The British Channel 4 has his video report which is quite interesting. It reveals that the brigade has large support from the outside.
Some of the fighters obviously had sniper training (1:15) and are teaching their comrades in that trade. They use M-16 automatic rifles with scopes.
Two different anti-aircraft guns are shown. A ZU-23-2 twin 23 mm gun mounted on a blue truck. As the truck lacks the weight to give the gun some stability its only possible use is in a “spray and pray” mode. A white truck is mounted with a ZPU-1 14.5mm machine gun. This is stability wise a more effective arrangement. As the continuous shooting for the camera shows there seems to be no lack of ammunition for these guns (3:00).
The fighters themselves explain that they see the conflict as a sectarian one. For them it is not about the Syrian army or about Assad but, as they say, about fighting Shia and Alawite (3:50).
For planing the insurgents use fresh high-resolution satellite imagery color printed on large glossy paper sheets. (5:00). But for lack of coordination with other brigades a planed attack on a Syrian army checkpoint was called off.
Two pickups are shown with mounted SPG-9 73mm recoilless guns (6:10). These are seemingly new and again there is no lack of ammunition for these.
Next comes an interesting weapons. At 6:40 the insurgents are loading a brand new Chinese QLZ-89 35mm automatic grenade launcher in the “light” bipod version but with the large “heavy” 15 rounds magazine. This launcher is a rarther rare item and a relative new Chinese development. It is a serious weapon for light infantry with a good range and lots of fire power. It is very unlikely to be available from your friendly Lebanese next-door AK-47 and RPG dealer.
The insurgents are show as they are handling bricks of money, allegedly $110,000, for ammunition and other supplies (7:05).
The members of the Farouq brigade seem to be mostly Salafists. At 7:50 one of them laments that this is the reason they allegedly get no support from the “free world”. He is asking why the “freedom” construct does not include his freedom to be Salafist.
Well, it does. But “freedom” is not about your freedom. It is about the freedom of everyone else to be what s/he wants to be. Is that the understanding Salafists have? This is just as “democracy” is not about the rule of the majority but about the protection of the minorities. Islamists seem to have a problem with such this inherent inclusiveness of these concepts. Sectarianism and freedom ain’t compatible.
At 8:40 a fighter who was caught by a tank round while sniping at the Syrian army and has lost a leg and several other wounds is getting patched up. He is conscious, has a drip-bag and as he shows no pain must be under effective medication.
The insurgents have been at least partially trained. They do have quite modern and new weapons and no lack of ammunition. Their weapons are very unlikely to have been bought from the black market as the report claims. The recoilless guns and grenade launchers and their ammunitions are definitely not usual black market items. There must be some serious state sponsor behind the delivery of these. Likewise with the current satellite photos, the large amounts of money and the medical and communication equipment.
The fighters declare themselves to be Salafists and see themselves in a sectarian war against people of other believes.
The CIA is supposed to be in south Turkey to control the flow of weapons and to make sure that what gets through only goes to agreeable groups. Does the CIA think that the sectarian Salafist Farouk brigade is agreeable to western values or does it lack the control it is supposed to have