MOSCOW – Agence France-Presse
Russia has accused Washington of “coordinating” deliveries of arms to Syrian rebels, despite assurances by the State Department that the United States provides no lethal assistance.
“Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of U.S. officials published in U.S. media, the U.S. coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s top general Nikolai Makarov said Oct. 24 rebels are using U.S.-made Stingers, a type of shoulder-launched missile systems, also known as MANPADs. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland promptly denied that the U.S. is delivering any such, or any other, weapons to the rebels.
“We are providing no lethal assistance to the Syrians,” she said. In its statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledged that “the U.S. does not deliver MANPADs to the rebels” directly, and did not specify how the alleged logistical assistance is carried out.
Makarov said Russia did not yet know who was bringing the Stingers into Syria, adding it was possible that these and other weapons could have been delivered from abroad on several means of transport, including passenger planes.
“For this, all kinds of transport could be activated, including civil aviation. This is a serious matter,” he said.