The situation in Syria continues to evolve with the freedom fighters/insurgents improving on multiple fronts including weapons and tactics. One area they seem to be crapping the bed on is organization. These guys are splintering into dozens and dozens of factions, providing no unified front against Assad’s forces. It seems highly probable that these factions will turn on each other soon if they haven’t already. It was also splashed on the pages of the New York Times this week that the CIA is actively assisting the rebels by supplying them with arms.
Needless to say this is going to be controversial. On one hand the theory behind this is that by supplying arms you also maintain some element of control over the rebels. By cutting off or increasing the amount of weapons flowing to the rebels you can manage them by using this leverage to push them in whatever direction you want them to move in. On the other hand, we’ve seen so many examples where funneling weapons to rebel groups has blown up in our faces. Also this week, the Muslim Brotherhood essentially took control of the Egyptian government. What are those tea leaves telling you?
Below is a video showing some of the Syrian rebels training in small unit tactics, conducting react to contact or squad attack drills. One thing I can tell you from working with indigenous soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is that any technique is better than no technique, so keep that in mind as you watch. That said, this drill leaves much to be desired. Rather than move as two separate elements in parallel with each other, they have every other man leap frogging forward. With under-trained guerrilla fighters you will almost certainly have fratricide in this situation as those in the rear shoot those bounding forward. You can have those staying behind stop shooting but then you lose your base of fire.
Also, the RPG gunner is going to blow his feet off. The PKM gunner is bringing up the rear but as I mention he needs to be in a position where he can actually lay down suppressive fire on the enemy.
So what is the future of the rebel movement in Syria?
Brother, you’ve got me. I’m as confused as you are.