US says not supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels

By REUTERS
October 24, 2012 22:00

WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it had not supplied Stinger missiles to Syrian rebel forces and appeared to question intelligence from Moscow that the US-made surface-to-air missiles had made their way into the opposition's hands.

Stinger missiles would help bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad's warplanes and helicopters, which have bombed residential areas where rebels are hiding. More than 32,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

But in contrast to the Libya crisis last year, the West has shown little appetite to arm the Syrian rebels, worried that weapons would fall into the hands of Islamic militants.

Russia's top military officer Nikolai Makarov, the general staff chief, said Russia's military had learned that rebel forces "have portable missile launchers of various states, including American-made Stingers."


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