France to send military gear to Lebanon from early 2015, says source

November 5, 2014 20:39

PARIS - France will start delivering military equipment to the Lebanese army in the first quarter of 2015 as part of a $3 billion contract to help the force fight jihadis from neighboring Syria, a French defense ministry source said on Wednesday.

Lebanon, whose sectarian divisions have been exacerbated by the war over the border, has said it needs more resources and better hardware to deal with the instability and encroaching fighters.

The contract has been funded by Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia which is keen to beef up Lebanon's ability to counter what it sees as threats to the region from both hardline Sunni groups and Lebanon's own Shi'ite Muslim movement Hezbollah.

The deal will involve about 20 French companies and cover a mix of land, sea and air equipment, including armored vehicles, heavy artillery, anti-tank missiles, mortars and assault weapons, the source said.

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