Syrian rebels receive ‘game changer’ arms

Syrian rebels receive ‘game changer’ arms

Syrian rebels receive ‘game changer’ arms

A Syrian rebel fires a heavy machine gun towards soldiers loyal to the regime. Rebels say they have begun distributing the new arms they have received. AP photo

Syrian rebels have recently received new weapons that could “change the course of the battle” against the Syrian regime, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) told Agence France-Presse on June 21, a day before Friends of Syria group meeting in Doha where ministers are set to discuss military aid for rebels.

“We’ve received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground,” FSA political and media coordinator Louay Muqdad said.

“We have begun distributing them on the front lines, they will be in the hands of professional officers and FSA fighters,” he said.He did not specify what weapons had been received or when they had arrived, but added that a new shipment was expecting in coming days and recalled that the rebels had asked for “deterrent weapons.” The apparent influx of weapons comes after the U.S. said it would provide rebel forces with “military support.”

Putin defends arms

“They will be collected after the fall of the regime, we have made this commitment to the friends and brotherly countries who supplied the weapons,” he said. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Russian arms deals with al-Assad’s government and said the West should not send weapons to rebel forces that include “terrorist” groups.

“If the United States ... recognizes one of the key Syrian opposition organizations, al-Nusra, as terrorist ... how can one deliver arms to those opposition members?” Putin said.