MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US arming Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles could lead to a further escalation of the conflict, former chief of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Michael Flynn said Monday.
"These kinds of issues [delivery of US weapons to the Syrian opposition] can lead to an escalation and that is the last thing we want to do," Flynn told RT television channel.
He stressed that Washington does not want the Syrian crisis to aggravate through "escalation between two powerful nations like Russia and the United States."
The former US intelligence chief added he did not see any solid political movement with real leaders inside Syria who could rule the country politically and be respected internationally and at home. In his opinion, President Assad would, in the long run, step down.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with forces of the country's President Bashar Assad fighting opposition factions and numerous extremist groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
The United States has been arming and training what it terms "moderate" opposition forces in Syria, calling for a regime change in the country.