A rare glimpse of a Syrian rebel weapons storehouse

(CBS News) ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Just as President Obama is trying to win congressional support for a strike against the Syrian dictatorship, there is a new complication. A video obtained by The New York Times, who said these were Syrian rebels about to execute Syrian government soldiers. CBS News is not showing the actual shooting, but as the video goes to black, you will hear the sound of gunfire.

Watch the video obtained by The New York Times of the execution of Syrian government troops:

There are many rebel groups battling the Syrian dictatorship -- some the U.S. has called freedom fighters, others it labels terrorists. Secretary of State John Kerry said "the bad guys" -- as he calls them -- make up only 15 to 20 percent of rebel forces.

The Free Syrian Army is one rebel group the U.S. administration is betting on. These members -- whom the U.S. considers moderates -- are seen as a force that can counter the growing influence of radical Islamic groups that have also joined the fight.

Already the moderate rebels are marching in new U.S.-issued uniforms and they are getting other help.

Col. Adnan Khotoba, who is in charge of the Free Syrian Army's supplies, said the U.S. hadn't delivered what it had promised: ammunition.
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Col. Adnan Khotoba, who is in charge of the Free Syrian Army's supplies, took us to a warehouse in northern Syria where they are stored. It was filled with boxes shipped from the States: body armor, helmets, even American military rations.

But he said, there's one thing that the U.S. has promised that it hasn't delivered.

"We haven't even received a single bullet from America so far," he said.

A rare look at a Syrian rebel weapons storehouse

He took us to another warehouse where the group stores the ammunition. It was almost entirely empty.

"And this is for the whole Free Syrian Army," Khotoba explained. All they had left were some machine gun bullets and rocket propelled grenades -- not enough to go into battle with. He said this wouldn't last five minutes.

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A big part of the American reluctance to send weapons to the rebels is the fear they will end up in the hands of extremists groups which seem to be gaining in strength.

So why are they so powerful on the ground? "They are strong because they are zealots," said Khotoba. "They love death."

This is what the Free Syrian Army had left in its warehouse: some machine gun bullets (seen here) and rocket propelled grenades.
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But he said for now the Free Syrian Army needs to focus on its main enemy, the Syrian regime. For that, he said, they need the U.S. to throw its might behind them.

"We hope that they will strike the regime," he told us, "and stop the killing machine."

As for whether he has faith in America at this stage, the colonel said: "We have faith in the American people. They are the only ones who can help us."

So if Col. Khotoba represents the kind of rebels the U.S. agrees with, what about the radical Islamic rebels that the U.S. considers terrorists? It's not a new phenomenon -- CBS News had reported last year for "60 Minutes" on a Syrian jihadi rebel leader who was executing Syrian soldiers. We have seen numerous videos come out since then. Many Syrian people are of course horrified by what they've seen and their experiences with these types of extremist groups. But because they're such an intimidating force on the ground, few people are really willing to challenge them.

Editor's note: During the Sept. 5 broadcast, we showed a photo from The New York Times that the newspaper said showed Syrian rebels executing soldiers loyal to the Assad regime. The Times said Sept. 6 that it was from 2012.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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