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The Real Plan Behind the US Decision to Supply Arms to Syrian Rebels

© AFP 2021 / MAHMOUD TAHA Rebel-fighters monitor the sky holding a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) in the Syrian village of Teir Maalah, on the northern outskirts of Homs, on April 20, 2016.
Rebel-fighters monitor the sky holding a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) in the Syrian village of Teir Maalah, on the northern outskirts of Homs, on April 20, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The outgoing United States presidential administration seems to be trying to ruin Moscow-Washington relations for years to come, Russian journalist and commentator Alexander Khrolenko wrote in a piece for RIA Novosti.

'The Same Old Story'

One the main items on this plan is a decision to resume weapons supplies to Syrian rebel groups fighting against President Bashar Assad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) speaks to US Secretary of State John Kerry ahead a joint press conference in Vienna, Austria, on May 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
Lavrov Warns Kerry Arms Supplies to Syrian Militants May Lead to New Bloodshed
On December 27, Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov in a phone conversation with his US counterpart John Kerry said: "The decision to supply weapons to anti-government rebel forces in Syria risks resulting in a new escalation in Syria and new casualties in the conflict."

The same day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented: "As for US arms supplies to Syria, we understand who will receive those weapons. And this is not the Syrian Army. Today you supply MANPADS to moderate rebels, tomorrow it turns out that they are terrorists. The same old story."

Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) are a threat not only to Russian aviation operating in Syria. Someday, those weapons could be also used against US forces.

Uncontrolled Chaos

Khrolenko suggested that the main reason behind this move is that the Democrats wants to return to the White House sooner, rather than later and the outgoing presidential administration wants to establish an atmosphere of chaos and instability in the Middle East for the coming years.

"It is possible that before Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, the US will try to deliver as many weapons as possible to the Middle East.

Washington’s strategy in Syria proves that the US cannot control the so-called moderate opposition. Its strategy has been only to fuel the conflict," the author wrote.

© Photo : SANADestroyed quarters of liberated Aleppo.
Destroyed quarters of liberated Aleppo. - Sputnik International
Destroyed quarters of liberated Aleppo.

According to Khrolenko, arms supplies to Syrian rebels are part of the West’s longstanding strategy to maintain chaos in the region for the sake of its own geopolitical and economic interests.

'Global Jihadi Belt'

On December 27, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Syrian terrorists groups have significant combat capabilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2L), his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu (2R) and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) attend a meeting in Moscow on December 20, 2016 - Sputnik International
'Amid US Failure in the Middle East, Russian-Iranian Alliance Gains Momentum'
"During the battle of Aleppo, they lost many commanders and fighters. They were forced to leave eastern Aleppo. But they are still well-equipped and capable. We can’t deny that," the minister said.

"I can’t rule out that the West will flood Syrian militants with money and weapons. Jihadists in Syria receive good salaries. For many of them, returning to normal life means getting back to poverty. Time passes by, terrorist groups change names and mottos, but their principles remain the same," Khrolenko wrote.

© AFP 2021 / Omar haj kadourFighters from the former Al-Nusra Front -- renamed Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking from Al-Qaeda -- advance at an armament school after they announced they seiged control of two military academies and a third military position on August 6, 2016, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said
Fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front -- renamed Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking from Al-Qaeda -- advance at an armament school after they announced they seiged control of two military academies and a third military position on August 6, 2016, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said - Sputnik International
Fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front -- renamed Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking from Al-Qaeda -- advance at an armament school after they announced they seiged control of two military academies and a third military position on August 6, 2016, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

"Western weapons poison the Middle East with war and destruction. Many people get used to live there amid chaos and violence. In this inhuman distorted reality, children are born and many of them would sooner or later pick up a gun. The entire region of the Middle East and North Africa is turning into a global jihadi belt," the author added.

Bulgarian Scheme

This image posted online on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, by supporters of the Islamic State militant group on an anonymous photo sharing website, shows gunmen with a shoulder-propelled weapon east of Palmyra city, in Homs Provence, Syria - Sputnik International
Bulgaria Opens Probe Into Alleged Supplies of Weapons to Syria
In mid-December, Nova TV journalists discovered arms with the labels of Bulgarian weapon manufacturer VMZ (Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi). Even though arms trade to Syria is banned, the weapons were somehow obtained by the terrorists of al-Nusra Front.

Among the arms, 122 mm Grad rockets were found alongside various caliber ammunition for anti-tank weapons. Arkus, a company from Bulgarian city of Lyaskovets, is listed as the supplier of arms.

Bulgarian surnames are written on the labels. The weapons were reported to have been prepared for export from Bulgaria in 2015 and left the country in October 2015. Military experts say that the militants would have been able to use the arms for two more years, according to the TV channel.

"Despite a ban on arms sales to Syria, Bulgaria has been illegally selling weapons to the war-torn country, using old licenses received from the Soviet Union. Thus, Bulgaria is de facto involved in the conflict on the side of terrorist groups. Probably, both Washington and Brussels are aware of the situation," the article read.

Of course, Bulgarian-made weapons are not the only example of the West’s proxy involvement in the Syrian war. For example, US-made TOW-2 anti-tanks missiles were discovered in Syria. They were used by various "moderate" opposition groups. Previously, Qatar officially bought TOW-2 systems from the US.

On December 26, Lebanese news agency C.Military1 published footage of foreign-made weapons and ammunition stockpiles left by militants in Aleppo.

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