…insurgent commanders say most of their weapons come from the very army they’re fighting, either seized or purchased in a thriving illicit trade. Intermediaries such as a merchant known as Abu Hussein arrange arms deals between the two sides.
Abu Hussein described how the rebels will shoot a few times at a government checkpoint, giving soldiers the cover to fire off their weapons. If the troops expend 200 bullets, Abu Hussein said, they may tell their superiors that 400 bullets were fired. The remaining 200 bullets will be sold to the rebels, typically for 150 Syrian pounds (about $2.50) per bullet.