Syrian rebels receive biggest yet haul of guns and ammunition

Militia leaders say ammunition and light weapons were allowed across the Turkish border in the past three days

A Free Syrian Army fighter rests next to his weapons in al-Swaika district in Aleppo at the weekend. Photograph: Molhem Barakat/Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter rests next to his weapons in al-Swaika district in Aleppo at the weekend. Photograph: Molhem Barakat/Reuters

Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 01:04


Rebel groups in Syria’s north say they have received their largest shipment of weapons yet, in a fillip to an anti-government campaign that had stalled for many months.

Leaders of militias supported by backers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar say several hundred tonnes of ammunition and a limited supply of light weapons were allowed across the Turkish border in the past three days.

The weapons are believed to have been sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and were warehoused in Turkey for months. Reports say they did not include anti-aircraft missiles, but several dozen anti-tank rockets were among them.

“For months we have not been able to advance along a front,” said a commander of the Salafist militia, Ahrar al-Sham, who did not want to be named. “This will allow us to fight more like an army.”

Armed opposition ranks in northern Syria are a mix of militias trying to replace Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as leader and jihadist groups who see Syria as an essential arena in a global struggle to install hardline Islamic rule. –(Guardian service)