DOWNED NEAR DAM: A Free Syrian Army brigade in the Damascus suburbs successfully downed a Syrian Army helicopteron Mondaynight using a Russian-made Osa surface-to-air missile system, captured from the government army and refurbished.
The downed helicopter fell close to Damascus International Airport, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents the war in Syria.
The FSA’s Liwa al-Islam, which is currently fighting in the hotly contested East al-Ghouta suburb of the Syrian capital, confirmed the deaths of Colonel Nazar Ghanim, Captain Wassim Rajib, and Captain Called Qusai, who were all on board the helicopter.
The Osa system uses radar to locate aircraft and target missiles. Eliot Higgins, an expert on the Syrian arms trade, reported on his Brown Moses blog that rebel groups claimed to have captured several Osa systems in late 2012, but no video evidence of these systems had surfaced until this week.
“The Osa system was seized by Liwa al-Islam ten months prior from a Syrian Air Force defense battalion in Ghouta,” says Muhammad Tayib, a media activist and member of the Revolutionary Leadership Council, a political body working alongside rebels in the Damascus suburbs.
Tayib added that the downed helicopter was the same type that had “shelled an area of mills along the road to Damascus International Airport that was liberated [Monday] morning.”