Written by Brian Betts exclusively for SouthFront
In early July of 2016, the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), along with allies such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, launched an assault on Latakia. The primary focus of the attack was the largely Christian town of Kinsabba. The attacking force was comprised of criminals and foreign fighters.
In what seems to be proof-of-death footage, a flurry of recent video posts highlight victories won by the rebels against pro-government forces in northern, coastal regions of Syria. Much of the footage reviewed in the following article features tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile systems. Provided by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, this particular weapon system has taken a heavy toll on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions in the mountainous region of Latakia. The ongoing supply of TOW systems is contingent upon the rebel groups posting the gruesome footage of their successes (The video was deleted from Youtube).
An Ahrar al-Sham Islamist commander briefs his men. Faces are clearly strained and tense with the prospect of looming battle in the dark.
A young fighter’s voice cracks as he proclaims dominance for Ahrar al-Sham.
An Ahrar al-Sham technical with a mounted ZU-23-2 spews flames and sparks as it slings 23mm shells downrange at SAA forces.
Ahrar al-Sham fighters brace as they risk brief bursts of suppressive fire over dirt emplacements. Flares can be seen in the background, illuminating the battlefield around Kinsabba.
Meanwhile, FSA fighters travel by foot and by truck, securing the territory overlooking Kinsabba and pausing for the occasional chant.
FSA 1st Coastal Division fighters scramble to cover ground in the village of Kinsabba. Buildings in the image above indicate a clear level of destruction that suggests prolonged struggle. Indeed, Kinsabba has been a hotbed of conflict for the entirety of 2016.
The spoils of war. FSA 1st Coastal Division fighters capture an artillery piece outside Kinsabba.
As anti-Syrian government criminals launched attacks on Bashoura village, new footage of TOW missile strikes began popping up on various pro-rebel Twitter feeds.
After securing Kinsabba, FSA 1st Coastal Division fighters launched TOW missile attacks on 14.5mm machine gun bunkers.
A TOW missile streaks towards an SAA bunker. The 14.5mm machine gun crew has no time to react to the incoming threat.
— XI. (@Interbrigades) July 1, 2016
Although the screengrab from the video above claims to depict the destruction of a pro-Government occupied building in Bashoura, no military activity can be seen. The 1st Coastal Division launched many identical attacks on prospective targets around the town of Kinsabba.
Two 1st Coastal Division fighters assemble a TOW system. After arming their weapon, the FSA fighters destroy a bulldozer operating in the area around Bashoura.