|A new report reveals that a US group led by a former high-ranking Pentagon official planned in 2013 to arm the foreign-backed militants operating inside Syria. The report notes that the weapons were financed by a Saudi prince.The American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, reported on May 18 that Washington decided it would press ahead with plans to support the militants in Syria after they faced serious setbacks in the Arab country in summer 2013.
Washington was, however, “worried” that the shipment of arms may end up in the hands of al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Syria; therefore, it only approved “a modest arms-supply effort.”
Nevertheless, a group led by former Pentagon official Joseph E. Schmitz and the notorious US security firm, Blackwater, offered, “on their own,” to provide 70,000 Russian-made assault rifles and 21 million rounds of ammunition to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), according to the report.
The journal added that the group arranged a weapons shipment from Eastern Europe to be paid for by a Saudi prince. But it did not identify that Saudi prince.
The new revelation comes as leaders of the foreign-backed Syrian opposition have renewed their appeal for more powerful weapons.
Ahmad Jarba, the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), said on May 7 that the militants operating inside Syria need “efficient weapons… so we can change the balance of power on the ground.” Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, Jarba claimed that such a move would help open the door for a political solution in Syria.