HAMA (Syria) (Sputnik) — Syrian militants, fighting against Damascus, possess man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), which can hit air targets at an altitude of up to 4.5 kilometers (2.9 miles), a Syrian government Hama airbase representative said on Sunday.
"We know that the militants have [FIM-92] Stinger systems, and several others, including Chinese-made, which they have seized from our military. We must admit that due to their attacks, we have lost many aircraft," the representative told reporters.
Hama is the city in the province of the same name in central Syria. Rebels have repeatedly tried to capture the Hama airbase, which is considered a strategically important location.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces battling against various opposition factions. Apart from the rebels, Damascus has had to counter several extremist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIL), and the Nusra Front.