Surrounded by the Syrian opposition since January 2013 opposition fighters in the area have claimed the FN-6 MANPADS are part of a no-fly zone they've imposed around the air base.
In the last couple of days a pair of news reports have been published which may provide some possible clues to where these new MANPADS have come from. The first, from the Guardian, reports
Another opposition figure involved in supplying the rebels said there had been a noticeable relaxation in recent days of the strict restrictions the US and Turkey had put on arms flows over the Turkish border. He claimed a Syrian army helicopter and a Mig warplane had been shot down in the past two days, for the first time by imported missiles.
"These were not weapons that had been captured from Syrian army bases as before. These were released from the Turkish warehouses. These are weapons the opposition had purchased previously but had not been allowed to take across the border," the opposition source said.
"Before, 23mm was the maximum calibre for anti-aircraft guns permitted and we were allowed to bring in RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] but not armour-piercing shells. But there is a major shift on the ground now. The policy is changing.
Then there's this report from Reuters
Syrian rebels have received advanced weapons aimed at narrowing the arms gap with President Bashar al-Assad's forces and reinforcing a new rebel military command which Western countries hope can dilute the strength of Islamist fighters.These are not the only MANPADS to make an appearance in the north of Syria in recent week. In a recent blog post Damien Spleeters discussing a video showing the first example of complete SA-24 MANPADS seen in the conflict so far. With claims that appear to point towards MANPADS now being supplied to the Syrian opposition could one of these, or both, be the first examples of these newly supplied MANPADS appearing in Syria?
Several rebel commanders and fighters told Reuters that a shipment which reached Syria via Turkey last month comprised shoulder-held and other mobile equipment including anti-aircraft and armor-piercing weapons, mortars and rocket launchers.
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