Syria rebels seek West direct military aid

Syria rebels seek West direct military aid
Fri Jun 14, 2013 16:37:34

The leader of the Supreme Military Council of the so-called Free Syrian Army has called for direct military aid of Western countries to Syrian militant groups.

In a report released by Wall Street Journal on Friday, Salim Idris has issued a desperate plea for weapons from Western governments to prevent the fall of his militant forces in Aleppo, pushing the Obama administration to decide quickly whether to agree to arm militants for the first time or risk the loss of another militants’ stronghold just days after the Syrian army biggest victory.

He issued a detailed request in recent days to the US, France and Britain for antitank missiles, antiaircraft weapons and hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds.

Idris's call comes at a pivotal moment in Syria's war, following rapid-fire gains by armt troops, including last week's recapture of Qusair, a strategic town near the Lebanon border.

The appeal also came ahead of meetings that started Tuesday at the White House, in which President Barack Obama and his top advisers are reviewing proposals that would allow the US to arm the rebels.

One option calls for the US to provide funds to allies Britain and France to jointly buy weapons for the so-called Supreme Military Council, the militant group commanded by Idris.

In the arms list he submitted to American officials, Idris said his forces fighting in Aleppo need 200 Russian-made Konkurs antitank missiles and 100 shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapons known as Manpads.

He also asked for 300,000 rounds of Kalashnikov ammunition, 100,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, 50,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition and high resolution satellite imagery.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden declined to comment on Idris's request.

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