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MOSCOW, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. The supply of modern arms to fragmented anti-government groups in Syria to fight armored vehicles seriously destabilizes the situation in the country and does not facilitate a political and diplomatic settlement there, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, April 16, following media reports on the delivery of American anti-tank systems to Syrian rebels.
“A new dangerous turn has occurred in the armed confrontation between the government troops and the armed opposition in Syria. Numerous media reports and videos show that Syrian rebels have obtained American BGM-71 Tow portable anti-tank missiles,” the ministry said.
Agence France-Presse said that the Harakat Hazm opposition group, which some prefer to regard as ‘moderate’, has received more than 200 such systems from ‘Western sources’. It noted that the militants underwent special training on how to use these weapons,” the ministry said.
“If the US administration has authorized the transfer of these anti-tank systems to Syrian opposition groups, this runs counter to its statements of commitment to a political settlement in Syria and deescalation of the conflict. At any rate, such a serious supply ‘from other sources’ (more than 40 countries have these systems) could not have been made without the US consent, considering the relevant export control requirements in American legislation,” the ministry said.
It stressed that “the transfer of sensitive weapons to fragmented anti-government groups seriously destabilises the situation in Syria and does not facilitate a political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict”.
“Particularly worrying is the fact that the anti-tank systems will fall into the hands of terrorists who can use them against civilians,” the ministry said and urged “everyone who is supplying the Syrian opposition with weapons to show circumspection in order to prevent an escalation of violence and mass casualties among civilians.”