Saudis Agree to Provide Gunmen in Syria with Mobile Antiaircraft Missiles
Saudi Arabia has reportedly agreed to provide foreign-backed militant groups in Syria with more sophisticated weaponry.
Citing Western and Arab diplomats as well as foreign-backed Syrian opposition sources, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday that the weapons include anti-aircraft shoulder-fired missiles.
“Saudi Arabia has offered to give the opposition for the first time Chinese man-portable air defense systems, or Manpads, and antitank guided missiles from Russia,” the journal said.
A Western diplomat with knowledge of the weapons deliveries told the journal that “new stuff is arriving imminently.”
Saudi Arabia has been the main supplier of weapons and funds to foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
The United States is also said to have stepped up its financial support for the militants.
Militant commanders say Washington has handed them millions of dollars in new aid.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army has reportedly arrested more than 80 foreign officers and soldiers, mostly from Saudi spy services.
The detainees include seven high-ranking Saudi military officers, 14 Qatari officers and 9 Turkish intelligence personnel.
The detainees are said to have entered Syria to carry out terrorist attacks.
French daily Le Figaro recently said that the weapons used by the militants in Syria are initially purchased by Saudi Arabia from black markets in Ukraine and Bulgaria.
The weapons, which include Israeli missiles, are then transferred to a number of cells on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, Le Figaro added in its report.