RIA Novosti - Turkey Supplies Syrian Rebels With Air Defense Missiles - TV
- RIA Novosti - 1/8/2012
Turkey Supplies Syrian Rebels With Air Defense Missiles - TV
Turkey has supplied the Free Syrian Army rebels fighting Presiden Bashar
al-Assad's regime with nearly two dozen man-portable air defense systems
(MANPADS), NBC News reported on Tuesday night.
There was no immediate confirmation of the information from the Turkish
According to NBC, the missile supplies were possibly initiated by
Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar which have repeatedly called for lending
military support to the Syrian opposition.
The report did not provide details on the exact type of shoulder-fired
missiles, though Turkey produces under license the Stinger missile which
was used against Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan during the war there
in the 1980's according to Globalsecurity.org. Turkey also used its
predecessor, the older Redeye system, Globalsecurity says.
Such a weapon would be a significant threat to the helicopter gunships
the Syrian government forces have deployed against rebel strongholds
such as Aleppo, where intense fighting has raged for nearly two weeks.
Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million people, has remained the hotspot of
Syria’s civil conflict since last week, when pro-government forces
launched a massive assault on the city in a colossal push to regain
control of key territories across the country. The Al-Watan newspaper
proclaimed the fight for Aleppo "the mother of all battles."
Aleppo's southeastern district of Salaheddin remains the main bastion of
opposition forces, mostly members of the Free Syrian Army.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily in an
interview in early July that Turkey “has supplied all logistic support
to the terrorists who have killed our people.”
The Syrian conflict has already claimed up to 19,000 lives since it
broke out in March 2011, according to UN data based on activist
accounts. About 200,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries,
including Turkey, which has registered 88,000 Syrian refugees so far.