US could supply Syrian rebels with anti-tank weapons to increase pressure on Assad

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Supplying Syrian opposition forces with the anti-tank weapons (TOW) is an indication of a major transition in US Middle Eastern policy and could be used as tool to unobtrusively exercise pressure on current regime, Carnegie’s senior Middle East analyst told RIA Novosti.

“If the US is supplying TOWs, this is quite an important shift. But it may be a way for the US to put pressure on the regime without getting too involved or going too far”, said Yezid Sayigh.

Reports of US assisting moderate rebel groups have been recently appearing in Wall Street Journal and China Morning Sun. Iran based Fars News agency also issued a report on Monday confirming the US supply of the anti-tank missiles to militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar al- Assad.

“If it’s true that several groups that work with the Supreme Military Council have been given them, then it’s likely that the US is either supplying the TOW missile or allowing Saudi Arabia (and/or Turkey and Qatar) to supply their own TOWs”, suggested Yezid.

Aron Lund, another expert from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the editor of Syria in Crisis Journal, told RIA Novosti that “in any event, putting more pressure on Assad to punish him and soften him up for future talks would seem like the logical next step for the US government’s point of view.”

Reuters report last Monday linked to Israel based website ‘Debkafile’ that presented information about two moderate Syrian rebel groups which were suppliedA with BGM-71 TOW missiles.

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