"We are using bullets that cost $3," lamented a Syrian rebel commander, "and they are coming with bombs that cost thousands."
That may be so, but Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have used those $3 bullets to bring President Bashar al-Assad's regime to the brink of collapse. Over the past week, they have seized control of several districts in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and economic hub. Now, as Assad musters his forces to retake the city, both sides are bracing for what could be a pivotal battle in the 16-month revolt.
How did Syria's rebels get so far with so little? As their strength has grown, they have used heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft cannons, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and they have even captured tanks to inflict damage on the Syrian military. As a largely improvised guerrilla force, they have also cobbled together some strange do-it-yourself (DIY) weapons systems, designed to hurl whatever explosives are on hand back at their enemies.
These weapons reflect the FSA's need for rapid movement, and they have at times proved effective in urban combat environments. Whether they will be enough for the rebels to repel the Syrian military in the battle of Aleppo, however, remains to be seen. Here is just some of the military hardware that Syria's opposition fighters are using against Assad.