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US is arming Syrian opposition in order to drag Russia into prolonged war - analyst

October 15, 2015, 18:22 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© AP Photo

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. Growing flow of US anti-tank weapon systems to the Syrian opposition indicates that in reality the United States is fighting not with the terrorist Islamic State, but with Syria’s President Bashar Assad, thereby trying to trigger a proxy war with Russia, the president of Russia’s Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has told TASS.

US military-transport planes on October 12 delivered another batch of small arms to oppositional armed groups in Syria under a program launched back in 2013. The US command declared it had airdropped 50 tons of small arms ammunition and grenades. World media have been quoting Free Syrian Army commanders as saying they have been getting as many weapons from the United States as necessary — it is just enough to declare the needed amount. Also, some field commanders have been boasting that with the US anti-tank missiles BGM-71 TOW they destroy the Syrian troops’ armoured vehicles of Soviet manufacture. The New York Times says the Syrian opposition has asked the United States to provide anti-aircraft weapons, too.

On Tuesday, as he dwelt on US weapons supplies to some groups of the Syrian opposition, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the weapons in question might end up in the hands of Islamic State terrorists. In the joint successful operation by Russia’s aerospace group and the Syrian government army guided anti-tank missiles BGM-71 TOW of US manufacture were spotted. The Islamist militants used these weapons against Syria’s armour.

Sivkov believes that the massive delivery of US military supplies to the Syrian opposition was in response to a successful joint operation by Russia’s aerospace group and the Syrian government army on October 7. "The massive offensive by Syria’s government troops, launched with Russian air support on October 7-8 rolled IS militants 70 kilometers back. Washington now decided to stop Assad’s army. The Pentagon is fighting against his regime and against Russia, and not the terrorists," Sivkov told TASS.

He claims that the United States is arming the Syrian opposition with a clear aim in mind to get Russia involved in a prolonged war in the Middle East. "The United States suffered a setback in Ukraine, failing to provide effective support for the authorities in Kiev in suppressing the resistance of militias in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Now Washington has turned towards Syria, hoping to drag Russia into a prolonged smoldering war in the Middle East," Sivkov believes.

"The United States is determined to have Russia bogged down in a rerun of what Afghanistan was for the Soviet Union. But, in contrast to Afghanistan, Syria does not have a common border with Russia. Moscow will find it rather more costly to provide sufficient backing for Damascus in its confrontation with the Islamic State," Sivkov believes.

"In attempts to put pressures on the Russian economy the Pentagon has been arming the Syrian opposition not just with anti-tank systems capable of hitting the Bashar Assad army’s Russian T-72 main battle tanks. There’ve been rumours the Syrian opposition may start getting air defence missiles that can hit Russian planes involved in the operation against the Islamic State. We are witnesses to a proxy war being unleashed against Russia," Sivkov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Wednesday confirmed Western media reports the US Department of Defense and the British government had supplied the radical Islamists with Toyota off-road vehicles. A year ago, while storming Mosul IS militants captured from the Iraqi army 2,300 US-made high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles HMMWV and a hundred Abrahams main battle tanks.

"There are very big doubts this ‘handover’ of heavy armoured vehicles to IS militants was accidental. It’s far more probable that the United States provides full support for the terrorists in Syria, while simulating struggle with them for a whole year. This is precisely why the White House is so reluctant to share with Russia any data disclosing the positions of IS militants that should be attacked from the air. This also explains why Washington has refused to receive a Russian delegation under Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for talks on a settlement of the Syrian crisis," Sivkov said.

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