Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Syrian rebels: Trickle of U.S. arms not enough

Sep. 12, 2013 - 03:29PM   |  
SYRIA-CONFLICT
An opposition fighter runs in front of a sniper curtain across a street in the industrial area of Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor during clashes Thursday with regime forces. (Abo Shuja / AFP via Getty Images)
  • Filed Under

AMMAN, JORDAN — Arms smuggled by the United States to the Syrian rebels are just “symbolic” and won’t make a difference in the fight against the regime or against Islamists, Free Syrian rebel commanders and the Syrian opposition told USA Today.

They said that, so far, shipments that began after the U.S. relaxed restrictions on weapons exports to the opposition in June, mainly going via Jordan, have consisted of light munitions and anti-tank missiles — and nothing heavier because the U.S. government is worried over weapons falling into the hands of Islamists.

“It won’t change anything,” said Abu Abdullah, 33, a Free Syrian Army rebel commander based in northern Syria near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. “What we have gotten is not enough.”

Abdullah said these weapons, that go through a special command center in Jordan operated by the CIA, are earmarked for select groups of rebel fighters battling Islamists, particularly in the Kurdish north. This means the assistance is not always reaching the rebel groups fighting regime troops.

“The weapons they got is not enough to face jihadists, either,” he added.

Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, the U.S. has supplied food and medical equipment. In June, President Obama agree to start arming the rebels. But the rebels are a decentralized force of hundreds of independent units, making it difficult for the U.S. to determine which group to supply.

Some of the rebel groups work closely with the better armed and organized Islamists such as al Qaida-linked Jabhat al Nusra, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group.

Syrian rebel commanders near Damascus say they and rebel brigades they communicate with have not reported receiving arms from the U.S. — only Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and all light munitions as well.

“It wasn’t anything effective — no missiles,” said Abu Sufian, a Free Syrian Army rebel who is currently based in the Damascus suburbs.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Top 5 bases
Recreation, low-cost housing make these stations stand out

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook