00:42 GMT +326 March 2017
    U.S President Barack Obama and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    US-Turkey-Saudi Arabia Arm Terrorists With Surface-to-Air Missiles in Syria

    © AP Photo/ Susan Walsh
    Middle East
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    Second Syrian plane shot down by Islamist rebels in one month as al-Nusra and Daesh continue to acquire American weaponry from Turkey, bankrolled by Saudi Arabia.

    ​On Tuesday, Islamist rebels shot down a Syrian plane, the second such incident in less than a month, and captured the pilots. Inquiries are being made at the highest level as to how the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, has come into possession of advanced Western surface-to-air missiles.

    Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with Institute of Islamic Thought director Zafar Bangash on Thursday to discuss the developing situation in Syria and whether access to this weaponry will undermine Syrian air superiority.

    Where are al-Qaeda affiliates getting these advanced weapons?

    "According to the information that has emerged, it was al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria," explained Bangash. He speculated that the missiles were sold to the extremist group by Turkey and paid for by Saudi Arabia, in a continuing effort to overthrow the Assad regime. He suggested that the Americans have a hand in it as well, saying, "the United States has always been involved in providing these weapons, even if not directly."

    The plane shot down on Tuesday was over Aleppo, an al-Nusra and Daesh stronghold. Why is that significant?

    "Aleppo is the only major city that has been under the control of al-Nusra or Daesh," explained Bangash. "The Syrian Army was making progress along with Hezbollah fighters and Iran’s revolutionary guards backed by the Russian Air Force and have been inching towards Aleppo."

    Bangash elaborated that the capture of Aleppo by rebel forces is significant, due to it being the largest city in Syria, and formerly the country’s financial hub. "It is even larger than Damascus, so obviously the terrorist groups and their backers will put up a tough fight not to lose it," said Bangash.

    Does terrorist access to anti-aircraft technology deprive the Syrian army of air supremacy?

    "Not completely. I don’t think it will prove a game-changer because Russia is still there," said Bangash. "These terrorists can cause some damage and some threat to the Syrian air force, and I am sure that the Syrian air force will change their tactics."

    Nonetheless, Russia’s continued presence in the fight against extremist militants will continue to keep rebel groups on their heels as allied forces march towards Aleppo. "Russian air force planes carried out a number of operations last week," said Bangash. "Further, per the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the US, the terrorist groups were specifically excluded from the ceasefire, so Russia has no obligation whatsoever to avoid attacking these groups."

    Has the US presence in Syria benefitted the extremist organizations?

    “Yes,” said Bangash who explained that, since 2005, the Americans along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey have had their eyes on ousting Assad from controlling Syria. "If the Syrian people don’t want Assad, that is for the Syrian people to decide, it isn’t for the United States or any other country to decide."

    He said that he "thinks it is very clear that the US wants to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad, and that is why the Americans are talking about increasing their special forces in Syria." Bangash said that the US presence has never been welcomed by the Syrian government. "They have not been given permission by the Syrian government and that is in violation of international law and the UN Charter."

    In contrast, Bangash says that the Russian government came in to maintain the stability of the current Syrian regime, and prevent the country from becoming a failed state, similar to Libya following the ouster of Muammar Gadhafi. "Russia went there with permission of the legitimate government, but the US is there illegally," he stressed.


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    Syrian jets, terrorist act, Islamist radicals, surface to air-missile, Syrian airspace, terror, Islamist militants, terrorist attack, Syrian army, Syrian conflict, terrorist, Institute of Islamic Thought, Loud & Clear, NATO, Daesh, al Qaeda, White House, Al-Nusra Front, Kremlin, Zafar Bangash, Salman bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, Bashar al-Assad, Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Brian Becker, Barack Obama, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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    • avatar
      It is high time to remove the invader Yankees and the Turk-Saudi mercenaries from Syria.
    • drjasonsmith
      Why would someone at Sputnik think that the opinions of a US Trotskyite (Becker) and a Canadian Islamist on the South China Sea would be of importance to anyone in the English-speaking world? Does not this elevate the Trot Boss (Becker) to being the equivalent of informative opinions of your contributors such as Pepe Escobar, Andrew Korybko, Alexander Mercouris, et. al. Who really do have something to offer?
    • avatar
      Mr Putin should take decision to finish all Alep and all Syria no more negotiations.
      Let them burn all this terrorists.
      2 to 3 months Syria should be clean.
    • avatar
      Better for the US and Israel that this arms doesn't come in hands of Hezbollah because that day we will laugh.
      Who play with fire will get burnt at the end.
    • Korz53
      USA LAW : (a) Offense.— Whoever provides material support or resources or conceals or disguises the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources, knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of section 32, 37, 81, 175, 229, 351, 831, 842 (m) or (n), 844 (f) or (i), 930 (c), 956, 1091, 1114, 1116, 1203, 1361, 1362, 1363, 1366, 1751, 1992, 2155, 2156, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2332f, 2340A, or 2442 of this title, section 236 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2284), section 46502 or 60123 (b) of title 49, or any offense listed in section 2332b (g)(5)(B) (except for sections 2339A and 2339B) or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in any Federal judicial district in which the underlying offense was committed, or in any other Federal judicial district as provided by law.
    • Annin reply tomounir.assi(Show commentHide comment)
      mounir.assi, Perhaps Russia, through Syria should just arm Hezbollah to the teeth and get this over with.
    • Ann
      Korz53, Those laws are only in effect for people the govt doesn't like.
    • avatar
      We don't have to be security and intelligence experts or even investigative journalists to know that the current axis of terrorism in the Middle East in general and Syria are the USA-TURKEY-SAUDI ARABIA-DAESH-AL-NUSRA FRONT. The Americans provide the weapons to their client states as well as provide intelligence, route mapping and overall coordination; the Saudis provide the cash and Turkey supplies the weapons using deep terrorist cells and overarching infrastructure in Syria. These three countries should be held responsible for the use of SAMs by terrorist organizations in Syria. Period.
    • avatar
      I have said it before and I say it again. Russia makes the best air defenses in the world and should provide it to all the country's in the middle east where the US coalition make flights uninvited. Of course the russians can't just hand it out. This way people might shoot at every plane they see. But there are established contacts with several groups. The Kurds, Iraqis or Afghanis need some BUKs and radar-intel to defend their sovereign air space. Russias payment is the whole middle east as strategic partner.
    • avatar
      Bring the war to mekah, medina, jeddah, riyard and Istanbul . Neo Cons don't understand the language of peace, especially the al Saud demons.
    • avatar
      perhaps it is time to declare that any uninvited forces inside Syria are now considered terrorists if they are conducting military actions of any sort. america is only using the fact they are in there to arm the militant terrorists ..so much easier to palm off a few weapons if they are fighting with the terrorists anyway...time to cut the lines
    • avatar
      tonyw247in reply toSyria Forever(Show commentHide comment)
      Syria Forever, unfortunately I think Russia, Iran and China are holding back because the thing america wants most is someone to start ww3. It cannot be them as they will get no backing.. If someone attacks them first them they can bleat ....we did not start it and expect some backing from all their allies...best to avoid it at this point
    • Korz53in reply toAnn(Show commentHide comment)
      Ann, Yes; BUT: Unequal application of law is illegal too; So the govt. is violating its own laws and international laws, so then it is criminal.
    • Annin reply toKorz53(Show commentHide comment)
      Korz53, actually, unequal application of the law in the US is "unconstitutional", but if it was 'illegal', then the govt would have to prosecute ITSELF - see how convenient that is?
    • avatar
      I think that another problem is that the perpetrators of these actions will never face trial - erdogan, obumma, merkel and so on. There may be scapegoats in ten years time (?) but these others will have state funerals and held up as statesmen of their time. Sickening really.
    • Korz53in reply toAnn(Show commentHide comment)
      Ann, The Government in the USA is, are the people, and we should prosecute our representative(s) for their illegal behavior. Problem with that is finance and political connection and training for being a responsible person as part of government. I’m as guilty as my representatives in their crime by my omission in stopping them in their crime(s).
    • Annin reply toKorz53(Show commentHide comment)
      Korz53, My friend, you are only guilty IF you had the means to stop them, but for some reason did not. No single person in America has the means, unless we can draw the power of numbers and consensus to the cause. Have a pleasant day - our weather here is sunny and warm for today.
    • Korz53
    • avatar
      Hopefully, the Syrian Air Force will change tactics, and Russian spec ops will be on the ground to watch for MANPADS, now that the Syrian Army will retake Aleppo, and sever the terrorists supply line, also retake that town that's near Turkish boarder.
    • avatar
      earlw35in reply toModerate Terrorist(Show commentHide comment)
      Moderate Terrorist, are you a Saudi, Qatari, or Turk, you ain't no moderate, you are a CIA terrorist.
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