Is the United States already supplying heavy weapons to Syrian Rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even before tomorrow’s meeting between revolt backers and US Secretary of State John Kerry? That appeared likely today when a Syrian Rebel spokesman announced that his forces now have anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to use in their battle with the Assad government.
More than 93,000 people have been killed in the two-year-old insurgency, and government forces recently have made advances with the added support of the Hezbollah group that dominates neighboring Lebanon. The US considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization. Kerry is scheduled to meet with the Friends of Syria group in Qatar tomorrow, presumably to discuss the impact of US President Barack Obama’s recent decision to provide military support to the rebels.
The US had been supplying non-military aid but changed its stance after reportedly receiving evidence that the Damascus government had used chemical weapons against the rebels, a charge Assad vehemently denies. The rebel spokesman said Friday that the missiles had come from “brotherly nations that support the Syrian revolution,” according to CNN.
Free Syrian Army political and media coordinator Louay Almokdad told CNN in a telephone call from Istanbul that the new weaponry “will definitely change the rules of the war on the ground” and could be “a turning point” in the war.
CNN said unnamed sources have said the White House was prepared to supply small arms, ammunition and possibly anti-tank weapons to the rebels, who have been outgunned by government forces. Of course, the weaponry also could be coming from countries in Europe that lifted their ban on arming Syrian rebel groups last month.