Syrian Rebels Appear to Capture Advanced MANPADS.
On the At War blog, with a nod to Brown Moses for doing the on-line scouring, a quick summary of what seem to be new rebel acquisitions of anti-aircraft weapons. The photograph above shows a rebel with an apparently complete (tube, gripstock and battery) SA-16. Another photo shows another rebel with an apparently complete SA-24, one of the most advanced heat-seekers in the world. This might be the only time an SA-24 MANPADS has been photographed outside of state control.
For more on the SA-24 (which at one point was the subject of public excitement in Libya, later established as unfounded), go here. Or here.
Before these photographs circulated, all the publicly available imagery of rebels with MANPADS showed them carrying or capturing the older and much less capable SA-7 system. These new weapons are a significant upgrade. One takeaway: While much of the public discourse was diverted into breathless inquiries about which American general slept with whom, the potential consequences of the Syrian war became much more complicated, and much more dangerous.