Russia: Syrian rebels using Western-made arms

August 20, 2012 13:54

MOSCOW - Russia on Monday cited what it called increasing evidence that Syrian rebels were obtaining large amounts of Western-made arms, suggesting the United States and European countries are helping fuel persistent violence in the divided country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov's comments echoed others that appear intended to blame Western and Arab countries for the failure to end the conflict through diplomacy such as outgoing mediator Kofi Annan's peace plan.

"There is growing evidence, including in the media, that Syrian opposition is massively supplied with Western-made weapons through third countries," Gatilov wrote on Twitter. He did not provide details.

The United States and Britain say they are providing non-lethal assistance to rebels such as communications equipment but not arms. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two strong Arab opponents of Assad, are believed to be funding a flow of weapons to the rebels.

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