Article Photos: AP Exclusive: Strife hardens Syrian rebel brigade 12/20

In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 photo, Syrian fighters of “The Beloved of Allah,” brigade hold their weapons before fighting with government forces on the outskirts of Aleppo. The Beloved of Allah began with ten men, five rifles, one rickety machine gun and a few rocket-propelled grenades soon discovered to be duds. It was born in Maaret Misreen, a town where tractors nearly outnumber cars between the provincial capital of Idlib and the Turkish border to the north. Their leader, 35-year-old Mustafa Filfileh, had no military experience and little idea how to face one of the Mideast's strongest armies. He didn't even know how to drive. They learned fast. In November, the brigade called “The Beloved of Allah” braced for its biggest challenge yet, one that would make clear how far its members had come and how far the war had brought them from their former lives. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)