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As Syria Teeters, U.S. Sidles Up to Rebels?



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Today’s New York Times reported that “The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power.” The piece’s details are scarce, though it suggests that the U.S. is quite close to deploying Patriot missiles on Turkey-Syria border, which would not ne in direct confrontation with Syria, but would somewhat hem in Assad’s ability to attack rebels in northeastern Syria, where the insurgents control some territory and settlements. The Times also suggests that the U.S. could still begin directly arming the rebels, or start inserting intelligence officers to coordinate attacks, though it doesn’t say either step is likely, yet.

Meanwhile, sources tell the AP that the U.S. might be about to join Britain, France, Germany, and the Gulf states in recognizing the new opposition leadership council as the legitimate international representatives of Syria.

But the rebels have been making significant advances of their own recently, drawing close to Damascus’s airport, establishing control of certain neighborhoods of Damascus, downing government jets, and capturing some government military bases. Here are two videos of rebels at government air-force bases, having captured some self-propelled anti-aircraft units:

 
 
Meanwhile, some success has also been had using weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, to down regime jets and helicopters. Below is what appears to be a surface-to-air missile hitting a Mi-8 helicopter:
 
And lest we forget the ideological bearing of the vanguard of the rebels, here are well-equipped rebels advancing under the black Salafist flag:
 


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