Russia warns against Saudi missile supply to Syria terrorists

Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army’s militants prepare to fire an artillery cannon in eastern al-Ghouta, targeting Syrian army forces in the capital Damascus January 29, 2014.
Russia has expressed “deep concern” about reports from anonymous sources that Saudi Arabia is planning to supply Syrian militants with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile launchers to “turn the tide” in the three-year conflict.

“There is a chance that if these powerful weapons get into the hands of the terrorists who have flooded the country, they are likely to turn up far beyond the borders of Syria itself,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

The second report this month that these weapons will be given to terrorists was published by AFP news agency over the weekend, and was indirectly confirmed up by several recent developments.

The Western-backed Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Jarba promised that “powerful arms will be arriving soon” to foreign-backed armed units during a visit last week to militants on the ground. Meanwhile, his principal backers hosted Pakistan’s army Chief of Staff, General Raheel Sharif in Riyadh earlier this month. Pakistan makes versions of both types of weapons, and has been earmarked as the supplier by Saudi officials, according to the source.

These developments trigger concerns that the militants are preparing to open a new “southern” battlefield in the coming months, the ministry warned.

“The Syrian conflict cannot be solved by force, and we ask all those considering the military option to reconsider, and allow the Syrians to reach a peaceful agreement within the parameters of Geneva, and without outside interference,” said the statement.

The long-awaited talks in the Alpine city last month have produced localized peace treaties to alleviate humanitarian suffering, but gave no hint of a political reconciliation between the warring sides.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

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