Russia says Syrian rebels have shoulder-fired missiles

By REUTERS
October 24, 2012 10:51

MOSCOW - Syrian rebels have acquired portable surface-to-air missiles including US-made Stingers, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia's senior general as saying on Wednesday.

Like Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia has laid most of the blame for continuing violence on armed government foes it says are aided by encouragement and arms from abroad.

Russia's military has learned "that militants fighting Syrian government forces have portable missile launchers of various states, including American-made Stingers," Interfax quoted general staff chief Nikolai Makarov as saying.

"Who supplied them must still be determined," he said.

NBC News reported in late July that the rebel Free Syrian Army had obtained nearly two dozen shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also known as MANPADs. A political adviser to the Free Syrian Army denied it.

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


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