The anonymous organization Free Syrian Army Help (FSAH) has set up a network of information to support the Syrian people rising up against the Assad regime and 50 years of Ba’ath rule. Among tips like how to move through cities, avoid checkpoints and sneak up on soldiers, the FSAH has produced a crash course library on how to handle, operate and maintain small arms on their YouTube channel.
The videos teach people how to wield and use all sorts of small arms, from rifles like AKs, M16s and FALs to sidearms like Glock, Hi-Power and 1911 pistols and even anti-tank weapons. They also teach hand-to-hand techniques.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is composed primarily of military defectors who have split from the regime and are now fighting against it. While they have both military training and experience, they also coordinate and cooperate with protesters who face violence and death for their actions.
FSAH has produced over 80 training videos and they’re generally of very high quality. If these were done in English we’re pretty certain that they would have one of the most popular weapons-related YouTube channels around. It wouldn’t be too hard, as we agree with the Firearm Blog, they’re probably made in the USA.
“There are only a few countries in the world where you would expect to see a Kel-Tec pistol, Sig 9mm, Glock Gen4, Workforce wrench and a S&W M&P AR-15 rifle in the same place. This was almost certainly filmed in the USA.”
While Syria has compulsory military service, the techniques and equipment the FSA employs are no doubt different than what they were trained for, and it’s always good to have a refresher.
The question of legality comes up, as providing any type of support for terrorist organizations is a crime under the Patriot Act, including “training or expert advice or assistance”. The FSA is not a terrorist organization, and Syria and Assad have been repeatedly criticized for supporting violent radical extremists and Islamic Jihad and is widely presumed to have directly supported the Iraqi insurgency. But this information could be used by terrorists, which has some people on edge.
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Defection rates have been high in Syria, due to orders for soldiers to fire on protesters and unarmed civilians. Refusal to follow orders can be met with the death penalty, and as a result many in Assad’s regime have joined the FSA or sought exile in other countries.
Despite casualties, the FSA continues to grow and is starting to act in a very organized and regular fashion, even without a prominent command structure. They use social networking and mobile communications to coordinate their attacks and disperse quickly.
About 5,000 Syrian soldiers have been killed, along with a few hundred policemen and foreign troops including Hezbollah and Iranian volunteers. An estimated 6,000 to 9,000 protesters and rebels have been killed and more than 25,000 other Syrians have been arrested or detained by Assad since the beginning of the Syrian uprising.