"(Reuters) - Syrian rebels have acquired heavy weapons that have forced the government's air force to bomb rebel-held zones indiscriminately from high altitude, France's foreign minister said before meeting rebel groups on Wednesday.
Laurent Fabius, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's harshest critics, made
his comments ahead of a closed door conference in Paris with civilian members of
rebel councils that run areas seized from central government control.
They included representatives from Maarat al-Numan, a town whose seizure last
week cut the main route from Damascus to Aleppo.
"In a certain number of these zones, Bashar al-Assad is bombarding them with
MiG fighter jets, and what is particularly horrible is that he is bombarding
them with TNT," Fabius said.
"But at the same time there are now weapons that are forcing the planes to
fly extremely high, and so the strikes are less accurate," he told
Amateur footage of rebels using shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles have
emerged in recent days. On Wednesday, activists posted videos of what they said
was a Syrian military helicopter spiralling to the ground and exploding in
flames [See Post Below].
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that
the helicopter had been downed near Maarat al-Numan. "Some rebels say they used
anti-aircraft missiles," he told Reuters by phone from Britain......."