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As Russian planes bombard Syrian rebels, debate over anti-aircraft missiles returns

As Russian planes bombard Syrian rebels, debate over anti-aircraft missiles returns

It has been a difficult month for the Syrian air force and its Russian allies. In April alone, rebel forces claimed to bring down three aircraft: two Syrian jets and one Russian helicopter. Each incident sparked a frenzy of speculation about whether the opposition had obtained anti-aircraft missiles that could bring down planes, known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS.

The rebels had obtained a limited supply of the missiles from Syrian army depots and from the government of Qatar earlier in the war. They have long been asking the West to...

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