Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Special Report: Rebels promise 'fireworks' for Assad, using Afghan methods

Kim Sengupta reports from Qurqanya, where Syria's insurgents believe that using improvised explosive devices can turn the tide in their favour

The Independent
Wednesday 25 July 2012

"....The homemade Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) will not have the devastating impact of last week's bombing in the Syrian capital, which killed four of the most senior members of the security apparatus. But they are having a significant say as opposition fighters take over more of Idlib province and prepare to launch an assault on Aleppo, until recently considered a loyalist stronghold of the regime.

What is also significant is that they are being put together in an area which was until a few weeks ago under the control of the Syrian military and the Shabiha, the militia of the Alawite community from which the country's elite are drawn.

The Independent had visited these parts four months ago in the company of rebels who were apprehensive of venturing down from the hills and wooded pathways into the villages and towns. Conversations with local people were hurried affairs, which had to be abruptly terminated at the approach of the military.....

Mr Saif, an engineer who is now a revolutionary, acknowledged that he and his comrades were much better armed than before, but stressed that they suffered in comparison to the fighters with the real money, the Islamists, who were getting the lion's share of their funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

"The rest of us are raising our own money, getting donations from supporters who may have good jobs. Where is the help we were promised by the SNC [Syrian National Council], the funds they are getting from all over the world?" he asked.

"I know some of my friends pretend to be very religious so that they can get some of the weapons. They grow their beards long and some of them wear short trousers like the Salafists. But we are going to have a struggle with the Salafists when the regime falls....."

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