British newspaper The Independent has revealed the scale of western military aid delivered to armed terrorist groups in Syria.
The report was based on documents obtained by the newspaper and extensive interviews on the ground.
In the article, published recently, The Independent said the British Government is considering sending weapons to what it described as "moderate rebel fighters", arguing that "a failure to do so would not only further empower President Assad but also weaken future potential Western allies."
However, the newspaper pointed out the "the bulk of the arms that get into opposition areas in Syria go to Islamist rebels, courtesy of wealthy benefactors in the Gulf, especially Qatar."
"So far the UK has sent around £8 million ($12 million) in “non-lethal” aid, comprising five 4×4 vehicles with ballistic protection, 20 sets of body armor, four trucks (three 25 ton, one 20 ton), six 4×4 SUVs, five non-armored pick-ups, one recovery vehicle, four fork-lifts, three advanced “resilience kits” for regional hubs (designed for rescue operations), 130 solar powered batteries, and around 400 radios," The Independent said, according to official documents seen by it.
The newspaper also reported France's role had been "instrumental" in lifting the European Union arms embargo on Syria which would allow supplies to be sent to the terrorist groups there.
It indicated, however, fears on France's part.
"Last month Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated that it would not be possible to send weapons as they may fall into the wrong hands and end up being used against France," the report said.
According to the article, French fears are informed by the country’s experiences during the recent intervention in Mali, "when French forces encountered surface-to-air missiles that that had been looted from Libya."
"There is some evidence, however, of quantities of missiles arriving in Syria for the opposition, some of them apparently obtained from Croatia in a shipment organized by the Americans and paid for by Gulf states earlier this year. More recently the rebels have also used Konkurs wire-guided anti-tank missiles from former Warsaw Pact arsenals, while 82mm recoil-less rifles have been deployed in recent gains near Lattakia," the newspaper said.
It added that the missiles are largely in the hands of extremist groups such as the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, stressing that the extremists' ever-increasing power is now a direct threat.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer