United States Accused of Supplying Anti-Tank Weapons to Syrian Rebels

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | April 8, 2014 11:40 AM EST

United States has been accused of helping Syrian rebels by providing them anti-tank weapons. The rebels are at war with Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria. The weapons are meant to empower them to retaliate against the Assad regime.

REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Rebel fighters cover their ears as a fellow fighter prepares to fire an anti-aircraft weapon in Heesh village in Idlib countryside April 7, 2014.

Israeli Web site Debkafile reported that a couple of Syrian rebel groups started using anti-tank BGM-71 TOW missiles. The rebel groups are apparently considered to be "moderate" by the U.S. government, it said. Military sources of the Web site revealed that was the very first time Syrian rebels used an advanced U.S. weapon. In an exclusive report, it clarified that the weapon in question would be able to pierce Syrian fortifications and Syrian tank armour, as thick as 50mm. The BGM-71 has a 4km range of execution. Debkafile further reported that Free Syrian Army Brigadier General Abdul-Hila al Bashir was equipped with the armour. Additionally, Syrian Revolutionary Head Jamal Maarouf is also reportedly armed with the BGM-71.

The introduction of such a high-profile weapon is expected to influence the balance of power between the Assad regime and the rebels. If the U.S. administration in deed supplied such weapons to the rebels groups, it shows a dramatic change in its policies. The Obama administration has denied every claim so far that accused the U.S. authorities of providing weapons to Syrian rebels who did not possess enough to match the superior military potential of Mr Assad's army.

The Web site referred to its sources which confirmed that new armours were being airlifted through a couple of routes. One of the routes is through Diyarbakir in Turkey while the other is King Faisal Air Base at Tabuk Regional Airport in Saudi Arabia. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey reportedly flew to Israel last week to waive an on-going agreement among Israel, Saudi Arabia and United States. He argued that new weapons required to be flown to Syria through Saudi Arabia, Debkafile claimed.

Watch this video which reaffirms the claims.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi / )
Rebel fighters cover their ears as a fellow fighter prepares to fire an anti-aircraft weapon in Heesh village in Idlib countryside April 7, 2014.
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