Saudi Arabia is ramping up its supplies of lethal weaponry to three different rebel groups in Syria in response to the Russian air strikes on Syrian rebels, British media reported, citing a Saudi government official in Riyadh.
Originally appeared at Sputniknews
The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry including guided anti-tank weapons would be increased to the Arab- and western-backed rebel groups fighting the forces of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, the BBC reported on Friday.
He did not rule out supplying surface-to-air missiles to the rebels, a move resisted by many in the West for fear that they would fall into the hands of ISIL and end up being used to shoot down warplanes of the US-led coalition or even civilian airliners.
He said those groups being supplied did not include either Islamic State (IS) or al-Nusra Front, both of which are proscribed terrorist organizations.
Instead, he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances — Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front.
On October 2 the United States and its allies — Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — urged Russia to end its airstrikes against the forces of the so-called “moderate opposition” in Syria, warning this would further escalate the conflict and lead to a new weave of extremism and radicalism in the war-torn country.
Russia insists its aerial campaign in Syria exclusively targets the forces of the Islamic State terrorist group.
On September 30, Russia, acting on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad, started launching surgical airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria with Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack planes, Su-24 and Su-34 bombers.