Russia says the United States assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces.
“Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Russia’s chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
General Nikolai Makarov said it was not clear who had delivered the arms.
“We have information that the rebels fighting the Syrian army have shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles of several states, including Stingers made in the United States,” he said.
“We need to still find out who has delivered them,” General Makarov noted.
The senior Russian military official added that it was possible that these and other weapons could have been delivered to the Syrian insurgents from abroad on several means of transport.
US broadcaster NBC News reported in July that Syrian insurgents had obtained two dozen man-portable air defense systems (known as MANPADS), delivered via Turkey.
“The Americans say that they have not delivered anything to the rebels,” General Makarov said.
He stated, “But we have reliable information that the Syrian rebels have foreign-made MANPADS, including American ones.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence, while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.