20:11 GMT +314 December 2019
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    A soldier with a man-portable air-defense system during military exercises.

    Russia Opposes Prospects of US Supplying Syria Opposition With MANPADS

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    Any attempts by Washington to supply the Syrian opposition with man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) would be absolutely counterproductive, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, US Department of State deputy spokesman Mark Toner said that the United States supported Syria's opposition, but refused to say whether Washington supplied the opposition groups with arms.

    "I think that it will be a completely counterproductive approach," Bogdanov said in an interview with RT television commenting on reports that Washington may consider supplying the Syrian opposition with modern weaponry, including air defense systems.

    "In the end, these people [the Syrian rebels], who have been trained and armed by the Americans, might do the same as they did on September 11 in New York," Bogdanov stressed.

    He added that the move could become very dangerous because it would pose threat to both Russian and US aircraft in future.

    "It is very dangerous, because today they will down Syrian and our aircraft and tomorrow they will down the US ones," the Russian diplomat said.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups. The United States has been supporting the so-called "moderate" opposition forces in Syria, while Russia has been supporting Syria's legitimate authorities.

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