The countries that support militant groups in Syria have dramatically increased the amount of weapons being sent to the militants, a report says.
A senior Arab official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a carefully prepared covert operation involving Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Qatar was arming the foreign - backed militants in Syria, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. The official added that the operation was being carried out with the consultation of the United States and other Western governments and that all the parties involved held veto power over where the arms shipments were being directed to.
The Arab official also stated that the number of arms airlifts to the militants had doubled over the past weeks, as they are moving forward with a “master plan” to seize Damascus.
Military experts say the shipments include powerful and advanced Croatian-made anti-tank guns and rockets. Saudi Arabia and Qatar provide the funding for the weapons, while Turkey and Jordan provide land channels for the shipments, the report said, adding that Jordan has denied any involvement. Some of the arms are reportedly being purchased from Croatia. Weapons are also being purchased through black market arms dealers. Sweden-based arms trafficking expert Hugh Griffiths said the militants have received some 3,500 tons of military equipment since early 2012. He also pointed to at least 160 airlifts of weapon deliveries from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in over two years of turmoil in Syria. On Tuesday, the Arab League formally handed Syria’s seat to the Western-backed opposition. Russia condemned the move and said it was “illegal and indefensible.”