Britain To Arm Syrian Rebels; Russia Retaliates By Shipping 10 MiGs To Assad

Tyler Durden's picture

Following Russia's first shipment of S-300 Rockets and the CNN-reported deaths of American and British citizens, it seems the situation in Syria is escalating 'behind-the-scenes' with little attention being paid in general. Whether it is the deaths or not, but according to the FT, the 'war-by-proxy' is growing in numbers as the UK is poised to ship arms to some rebel factions in Syria as soon as this summer. "The precise timing has not yet been finalized and no decision has yet been taken. But we are likely to be ... shipping arms to the rebels by August," one official noted, adding that "the rebels need ammunition, and a lot of it, just to keep fighting." The US had secretly undertaken significant lobbying efforts of EU member states to get the EU arms embargo amended and this week Britain and France forced through that deal opening the door for the supply of weapons. Adding to the angst, Russia's MiG aircraft makers said on Friday that it planned to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.

 

Via The FT,

Britain and France this week forced through an amendment to an EU arms embargo that opened the door for the supply of weapons to opposition forces.

 

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Britain’s Foreign Office insists that no final decision on whether to arm the rebels has yet been made. But a senior UK diplomat told the Financial Times that Britain could be in a position to arm the rebels this summer if, as many expect, the planned peace conference in Geneva fails to make headway.

 

“The precise timing has not yet been finalised and no decision has yet been taken. But we are likely to be ... shipping arms to the rebels by August,” the official said. “What I expect is that over the next two or three months western powers will move low-grade arms supplies in bulk to the rebels. The rebels need ammunition, and a lot of it, just to keep fighting.”

 

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Syrian rebel sources are also saying they are expecting the first new arms supplies to come from Britain as early as this summer.

 

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Russia’s MiG aircraft maker said on Friday that it planned to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with the Assad regime,

 

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Russia has said it is only providing Assad with weapons intended to protect Syria from a foreign invasion, such as air defence missile systems.

 

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Syria now is Russia’s last remaining ally in the Middle East and hosts the only naval base Moscow has outside the former Soviet Union.