Despite the talk of arming the opposition as being a new thing, there's actually been one significant operation to arm the opposition in recent months. At the start of 2013 Syrian opposition fighters in the Daraa governorate in the south of Syria began to receive arms smuggled in from Jordan. These arms had been sold from government stockpiles by the Croatian government to Saudi Arabia, working hand-in-hand with the US, who then had them flown to Jordan and moved across the border. The weapons included:
M79 Osa Rocket Launcher - Manufactured in the former-Yugoslavia.
M60 Recoilless Gun - Lightweight mobile artillery from the former-Yugoslavia.
RPG-22 Rocket Launcher - A Soviet/Russian one-shot disposable rocket launcher.
RBG-6 Grenade Launcher - A Croatian copy of a South African 40mm grenade launcher.
The weapons were later joined by the RAK-12 multiple rocket launcher system.
It was notable that when the weapons began to appear in Youtube videos they all appeared to be in the hands of groups that were aligned with the Free Syrian Army, strongly suggesting the weapons were being purposely supplied to the Free Syrian Army only.
After just over two months from the weapons arriving in the south of the country they had began to appear in Damascus, Idlib, Hama, Deir Ez Zor, and elsewhere, and photographs and videos showed the weapons had spread beyond the Free Syrian Army. First Ahrar al-Sham, a loose collection of various Islamist and Salafist groups, posted this video showing them using two of the weapons provided by Saudi Arabia
This would seem to add weight to the argument that arming the Free Syrian Army may result in the "bad" rebels getting their hands on the weapons, but in the example of the Croatian weapons there's one other factor to consider. In the case of the M60 recoilless gun and M79 Osa rocket launcher they both use ammunition that's unique to the weapon, and not commonly available on the black-market, or used widely outside of the former-Yugoslavia. This means that the only reliable source of ammunition will be the governments providing it, so if they choose to cut off the ammunition supply then the weapons become useless. This allows a certain amount of control, even if the weapons are reaching the hands of "bad" rebels, and this factor might influence the type of weapon sent to opposition groups in Syria in the future.
New Anti-Tank Weapons From The Former-Czechoslovakia Appear In Syria
Evidence Of Jabhat al-Nusra With Croatian Weapons
Croatian Weapons Arrive In Homs
More Videos Of Croatian Weapons With Non-FSA Islamists, Salafists, and Jihadi
Video Shows Non-FSA Jihadists Ahrar al-Sham Using Croatian Weapons
More Background On Croatian Weapons In Syria
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