Report: Turkey Arms Syrian Rebels With Anti-Aircraft Missiles

US Officials Fear Weapons Could Be Used on Civilian Aircraft

by Jason Ditz, August 01, 2012

Reports coming out of Syria today suggest that the Free Syrian Army has been given approximately two dozen shoulder mounted surface-to-air missiles to use against Syrian warplanes, the first time the rebel faction has acquired such weaponry.

The arms were apparently delivered to the rebels by Turkey, though whether they provided them directly or they were “gifted” by way of one of the many Gulf states also pouring cash and weaponry into the rebellion is unknown.

A Free Syrian Army spokesman denied that the missiles had been delivered, but claimed that the faction had a “surprise” for the Syrian military, which it is currently fighting across the northern portion of the country.

The Obama Administration is not believed to be involved in this particularly effort to arm the rebels, and US officials have expressed concern that the addition of SAMs to the rebel arsenal could have unforeseen consequences, and that the rebels might attack civilian aircraft in the area as well as warplanes.

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