Syria Live Coverage: Insurgent Success on the Turkish Border / LCC brought down MiG 23 Jet

Thursday, November 15, 2012 | James Miller in EA Middle East and Turkey,

1854 GMT: Syria The Local Coordination Committees claim 95 people have been killed by security forces today, including 45 in Damascus and its suburbs.

1550 GMT: Syria. Video emerges matching reports that we heard earlier that a MIG has been shot down in AlBukamal. An FSA 4×4 drags what appears to be part of a jet fuselage through the streets:

1422 GMT: Turkey/Syria. Turkey has officially recognized the Syrian opposition as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, according to recent statements made by Foreign Minister Davutoglu:  Davutoglu said the responsibility of the tragedy in Syria was solely on the Syrian regime which he said refused to meet legitimate demands of the Syrian people.  “The Syrian regime lost its legitimacy. Syrian opposition and people deserve more support,” Davutoglu said.

1356 GMT: Syria. A significant claim made by the LCC:

    Deir Ezzor: Bokamal: The Free Syrian Army brought down a MiG 23 near Hazam. The warplane was shelling the city. The claim is not yet verified, but there is evidence that it is possible. The FSA operating in the region have brought down several regime jet fighters in the last several months, and destroyed a regime helicopter just this week. Furthermore there are some reports (including these two videos, which were posted by two different Youtube accounts) that the FSA had captured a military checkpoint. Note the FSA’s use of heavy armored vehicles:

1345 GMT: Syria. There’s a story that has gone almost completely unreported, but in the last month and a half the Free Syrian Army and other insurgent groups have captured many large air-defense bases from the Assad military. In and of itself, this is a sign that the insurgents are much stronger than many analysts predicted they were only months earlier. Though in most cases, the FSA has withdrawn from these bases, the most significant thing about these victories are that each base contains air defense systems that have been captured by the insurgents. In many cases, these systems include MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems), easily transported (and hidden) shoulder-fired weapons capable of destroying helicopters, and even jets, from the ground.

Blogger Brown Moses has collected the latest evidence that in the last week a large amount of these weapons have fallen into FSA hands. These weapons could be a major factor as the Assad regime has had to rely on air power for months to do the majority of the damage to the Syrian insurgency (to say nothing of the thousands of civilians who have been killed in air strikes in the process).

0615 GMT: Syria. The crisis in Syria was knocked off the headlines by Israel’s attack on Gaza on Wednesday, but the fighting and deaths continued.

While the new opposition leadership, the Syrian National Coalition, pursued international support, the insurgents tried to change the situation on the ground. They continued to take more territory near Ras al-Ain, the town on the Turkish border captured last week, with the reported seizure of a military post and the killing of at least 18 regime soldiers.The pattern of conflict continued near Damascus, with regime warplanes shelling insurgent positions in districts to the south and east of the capital.

The Local Coordination Committees claimed 100 people were killed by security forces on Wednesday, including 37 in Damasus and its suburbs.