Syrian Rebels Push Donors for Anti-Aircraft Missiles

After Threats to Civilian Aircraft, Will West Hand Over Weapons?

by Jason Ditz, November 15, 2012

Another donor conference is being held in London today for the Syrian National Coalition faction which has claimed itself the new leadership of the rebellion, with the group pushing for weapons, and anti-aircraft missiles in particular.

France is on board, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius urging the EU to revise an arms embargo to allow the shipment of “defensive weapons,” including anti-aircraft weaponry, to the rebels.

That’s going to be a tough sell for the less hawkish nations in the EU, particularly after the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the principle rebel combatant force, announced in September that civilian aircraft are “legitimate” targets and that in particular they would like to shoot down Russian civilian planes to spite the nation for blocking UN resolutions.

Though in the context of a war surface-to-air weaponry is usually considered defensive in nature these overt threats to use them against civilians, particularly with al-Qaeda linked factions on the rebel side, has made anti-aircraft weaponry a major concern for Western nations. So while many nations had talked of sending weaponry before France has been alone in getting behind the missiles.

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