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- Middle East Political & Social Issues
Arabs Send Heavy Weapons to Syrian Rebels
The Syrian Free Army, a collage of good and nefarious forces with diverse goals AFTER Assad collapses, are getting heavy weapons. Arab nations, like Qatar, Saudi Arabia are largely paying for the new heavy weapons: 20 Russian T-62 tanks with crews. When you add to the mix of 30+ U.S. Stinger missiles from Turkey, one recently downed a Syrian MiG-21 aircraft, the rebel army is gathering steam just as they are crying for more supplies. Turkey has drawn up plans for carving out safe havens between 2 to 15 miles deep inside Syrian territory and on its borders with Turkey and Iraq. Turkey has been dealing with the tens of thousands refugees inside border camps and has long wanted to be rid of the problem within its borders. The Turkish military is near.
While the T-62 tank is an antique by today's standards (the tank was made in the 1960s, used in many Middle East Wars) it allows the rebels some real firepower and allows the Libyan tanks to be used instead of rusting away. The tanks were shipped from Libya and arrived within Turkish territory where trained crews waited. Many have already crossed in to Northern Syria.
New developments happen daily and President Assad must feel pressure about whether to use any of the chemical weapons he has. It would be very easy to do and it would very effective in giving the rebels a death blow and a shock. Even a few such attacks might look appealing to him. Of course, if done, it would unlock the now restraint of many U.S. aligned countries, which could force Assad to run with the wind.