U.S. opposes supply of shoulder-fired missiles to Syria rebels

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:11am EST

A damaged building is pictured in Babila town, southeast Damascus February 17, 2014, after a local ceasefire agreement was reached between the opposition and regime forces. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

A damaged building is pictured in Babila town, southeast Damascus February 17, 2014, after a local ceasefire agreement was reached between the opposition and regime forces.

Credit: Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is opposed to the supply of shoulder-fired missiles, capable of taking down warplanes, to rebel forces in Syria, a senior Obama administration official said on Tuesday.

The official, traveling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Tunisia, was responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday which said Saudi Arabia had offered to give Syrian rebels Chinese man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, and anti-tank guided missiles from Russia.

The newspaper cited an Arab diplomat and several opposition sources with knowledge of the efforts.

The Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "The administration remains opposed to any provision of MANPADS to the Syrian opposition."

The paper said that Arab allies of the United States, disappointed with Syria peace talks, had agreed to arm the Syrian rebels with more sophisticated weaponry.

The United States has long opposed supplying rebels with anti-aircraft missiles due to concern they may fall into the hands of forces that may use the weapons against Western targets or commercial airlines.

The paper said the Saudis had held off providing such weapons in the past because of American opposition.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Tunis; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
sabrefencer wrote:
you mean we finally learned a lesson, from supplying the muj fighters in afganistan back when..yeaaa for us…maybe we should just make it a Syrian no fly zone, period….since the Syrian govt is the only one to have fixed wing aircraft, this should be easy to monitor if decided…..also, including helos in the no fly equation..we don’t want to make the same mistake, of the first Iraqi war allover again….humanitarian missions of food and medical supplies, can be carried out by UN fly drops, protected by UN planes, that will fire on any side that shoots at them , while performing these duties…

Feb 18, 2014 8:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
Overcast451 wrote:
And capable of taking down drones no doubt; that’s probably the ‘main’ concern.

Why are we even screwing around over there? Good job Obama – give that man another peace prize! They have enough problems Obama, without you using them in your various proxy/profit warfare.

Feb 18, 2014 9:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
Lovetwo wrote:
Who supplies the Saudis with the weapons; too supply the rebels with death to God’s people? Is Allah the face of death? No.

The US? France? Do these governments outfit death?

Allied terrorist, fight for Peace and Life Eternal; Not death.

As above, so below.

Peace be with you All.

Love
God
Omega

Feb 18, 2014 9:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures