Two Swiss parliamentary committees have approved new legislation that would relax rules on arms exports to countries involved in internal conflicts, Reuters reported. According to the planned changes, the government will be able to grant export licenses so long as it is established that the weapons won't be used in armed conflicts.
This runs counter to a June report by Swiss Info, which claimed that the new regulation would not apply to countries in the throes of civil war like Yemen or Syria.
A recent report claiming that Swiss-made grenades came into the hands of Daesh* militants in Syria would unlikely sway the government's decision to waive restrictions on arms exports, members of the Swiss People's Party (SVP) said on Monday.
"The matter is purely emotional and has nothing to do with the easing of Swiss rules governing weapons exports," Werner Salzmann, SVP member and president of the lower house of parliament's security committee, told Reuters.
On Sunday, Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick reported that members of Syrian militant group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham released a photo from a raid on a Daesh* cell in Idlib. Among the weapons found in the arms cache were allegedly several OHG92 and HG85 grenades produced by the Swiss arms manufacturer RUAG.
RUAG confirmed that it had produced the grenades seen in the photo but failed to identify where the grenades came from. These types of grenades were supplied to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between 2003 and 2004 and were later spotted in the hands of al-Qaeda* and Free Syrian Army fighters in 2012.
An investigation by Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs revealed that the UAE had passed a portion of the 225,000 grenades supplied by RUAG on to Jordan, which borders Syria, in violation of the sales agreement. A RUAG spokesman said that the grenades discovered in the Daesh arms cache might have come from that batch.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) and al-Qaeda are terrorist organizations banned in Russia