MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti)
Turkey has supplied the Free Syrian Army rebels fighting Presiden Bashar al-Assad's regime with nearly two dozen man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), NBC News reported on Tuesday night referring to rebel sources.
There was no immediate confirmation of the information from the Turkish media.
According to NBC, the missile supplies were possibly initiated by Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar which have repeatedly called for lending military support to the Syrian opposition.
The report did not provide details on the exact type of shoulder-fired missiles, though Turkey produces under license the Stinger missile which was used against Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan during the war there in the 1980's according to Globalsecurity.org. Turkey also used its predecessor, the older Redeye system, Globalsecurity says.
Such a weapon would be a significant threat to the helicopter gunships the Syrian government forces have deployed against rebel strongholds such as Aleppo, where intense fighting has raged for nearly two weeks.
Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million people, has remained the hotspot of Syria’s civil conflict since last week, when pro-government forces launched a massive assault on the city in a colossal push to regain control of key territories across the country. The Al-Watan newspaper proclaimed the fight for Aleppo "the mother of all battles."
Aleppo's southeastern district of Salaheddin remains the main bastion of opposition forces, mostly members of the Free Syrian Army.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily in an interview in early July that Turkey “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people.”
The Syrian conflict has already claimed up to 19,000 lives since it broke out in March 2011, according to UN data based on activist accounts. About 200,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, including Turkey, which has registered 88,000 Syrian refugees so far.
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- firstname.lastname@example.orgNATO14:17, 01/08/2012Turkey is working very hard to become the part of Fourth Reich, and to get its own area of 'jihadists rulled countries' - good starting point for a 'great caliphate', as it says in the book.
- Nico(no title)17:34, 02/08/2012I'll believe it when I see footage of a downed helicopter. Until then, I'll consider this to be rebel propaganda, designed to put doubts into the minds of the Syrian authorities who have relied on the use of these aircraft to target militant positions effectively.
Given the ease at which these systems could fall into the hands of Israel's enemies, I doubt even the US would support such a move...and Turkey does what it's told. At least, I hope so..
Islamic terrorism is gaining momentum, and is all about ideological opposition to European Christian values. This is an aggressive young radical ideology that attracts followers across the world. And it will only grow stronger on the world political stage.