Lavrov: Little doubt US arms delivered to Syrian opposition to fall into terrorists' hands

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. © Maxim Shemetov
The Russian Foreign Ministry has few doubts that weapons and munitions supplied by the US to the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition” will end up in terrorists’ hands. The US Air Force has reportedly delivered 50 tons of munitions to Syrian rebels.

“I want to be honest, we barely have any doubt that at least a considerable part of these weapons will fall into the terrorists’ hands,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with NTV channel.

Lavrov pointed out that American society and the Congress are also getting anxious about the Washington’s previous efforts to support “moderate Syrian opposition.”

American airlifters have reportedly dropped 50 tons of small arms ammunition and grenades to Arab groups fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in northern Syria. US officials assure the fighters have been screened and are really confronting IS up in arms.

The parachute airdrop of 112 containers with rounds for M-16 and AK-47, according to the Fox News who cited a senior defense official, was made from Air Force C-17 cargo planes.

A spokesman for the Baghdad-based US military command of the anti-IS campaign in Syria and Iraq, Colonel Steve Warren, confirmed to AP by email that the airdrop took place. A CNN source added that the airdrop took place in the northern Syrian province of Hasakah and was received by the rebel forces known as the Syrian Arab Coalition. Hasakah is controlled primarily by the Kurdish forces.

Last week the Obama administration announced termination of a $500 million program aimed at creating a military force of moderate Syrian rebels that would fight against IS. Instead, the US would focus on providing munitions and equipment support to the already existing groups on the ground opposing IS.

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In an email to the Associated Press, the US anti-IS military headquarters denied they provided direct support to the Kurdish forces in Syria over the last week. At the same time, Kurdish official Mustafa Bali residing in the northern Syrian city of Kobani informed the AP that the US had delivered 120 tons of weapons and ammunition to the People's Protection Units (YPG) of the Kurdish militia fighting IS.

Bali was unable to specify whether the supplies were airlifted or brought by land. The YPG has not returned calls from the AP.

A recently-formed alliance of the YPG and rebel factions dubbed ‘Democratic Forces of Syria’ proclaims its main goal in fighting Islamic State, reports Bali. The coalition, consisting of Arab, Assyrian and Kurdish rebel group claims it is going to advance towards the city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of IS in Syria.

The troops of President Bashar Assad, backed by air support from the Russian Air Force in Syria, are also aiming to capture Raqqa and knock out the jihadists out of this city.

Intercepted IS communications revealed that the terrorist forces in Syria have been seriously discouraged by two weeks of intensifying airstrikes by Russian warplanes, with many IS fighters either dying in the airstrikes or escaping from the Syrian territory into neighboring countries.