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    A rebel fighter fires a 23mm anti-aircraft gun from the back of a pick-up truck as a Syrian Airforce plane flies overhead during clashes between the rebels and pro-government troops on the outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo

    US Defense Bill Allows Pentagon to Send Anti-Aircraft Weapons to Syrian Rebels

    © AFP 2019 / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
    Military & Intelligence
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    A little-known statute in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) permits opposition groups in Syria to receive anti-aircraft missiles, sparking worry among analysts that they could be used to target civilian airliners.

    The provision that loosens constraints on Congress’ ability to arm groups in the region was discreetly entered into the massive, 3,000 page NDAA, according to an anonymous Capitol Hill staffer speaking with Alternet. Specifically, the statute requires that transfers of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to Syria gain approval from Congressional committees. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) took credit for the addition of the statute in a December 2 announcement

    The Federation of American Scientists points out that MANPADS are popular among terrorists because they are cheap, deadly, concealable and portable.

     

    President-elect Donald Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that he has "an opposite view" than many others regarding Syria. Specifically, the US should focus on eliminating the threat posed by Daesh, Trump said of his foreign policy stance, instead of attempting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It will arrive as no surprise if Trump reverses the Obama administration’s practice of arming Syrian rebels. "We’re backing the rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are."

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    Tags:
    MANPADS, rebels, Federation of American Scientists, Ted Yoho, Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Syria, United States
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