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Missiles give Syrian rebels a potent sting

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Missiles give Syrian rebels a potent sting

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In Syria, rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad have shot down a government fighter jet 30 kilometres from Aleppo.

The pilot ejected and was captured alive according to witnesses. A reporter for the French agency AFP also saw the plane come down.

A rebel spokesman based in London said the jet was downed by one of dozens of ground-to-air missiles seized from a captured military base.

Rebel commander Mustafa Abdel Razzaq said: “We have destroyed a MIG military plane of the Assad regime. We destroyed it with God’s help after it droped many bombs on several towns, forcing many to flee and destroying many homes.”

Some observers believe the missiles could deny the regime dominance of the skies, so turning the conflict the rebels’ way. A government helicopter was also shot down. It is a form of attack not seen before in the 20 month uprising.

Early in the day, in a pro-Assad part of the capital Damascus, co-ordinated car-bomb attacks killed more that 30 people.