Interested in increasing its influence in the region, France is reportedly considering sending rebel factions in northern Syria artillery as well as anti-aircraft guns. They have already confirmed plans to provide funds to several rebel blocs, though not the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The timing for the anti-aircraft weaponry report couldn’t be worse. Earlier today, the Free Syrian Army announced that they now consider civilian aircrafts to be “legitimate military targets” and say they will attack any airplanes flying over Syria after this weekend.
Several international airlines have already announced that they are withdrawing from Damascus airport, but 14 others remain. The FSA insisted that while they intend to shoot down civilian planes, it would be the regime “and its Russian allies” that are to blame for the resultant deaths.
Several of the Gulf nations that have been arming the rebels have openly resisted sending anti-aircraft weapons to the groups, fearing that this sort of shift might happen. The French government has yet to comment, but this must inevitably force a rethink of any plans they might have for shipping such weapons.