June 18, 2013
NATO and a number of European governments, most significantly the UK, have started airlifting heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels poised in Aleppo to fend off a major Syrian army offensive, according to DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources. They disclose that the first shipments were landed Monday night, June 17, and early Tuesday in Turkey and Jordan. They contained anti-air and tank missiles as well as recoilless 120 mm cannons mounted on jeeps. From there, they were transferred to rebel forces in southern Syria and Aleppo in the northwest.
Our sources report that the first weapons reached rebel-held positions in Aleppo early Tuesday. More than 2,000 Hizballah troops are standing by to enter the decisive contest between Assad’s army and the opposition for control of Syria’s second most important city.
The hardware for the rebels is coming in from three sources:
1. NATO stores in Europe, which have been filling up in the past year with arms evacuated from Afghanistan. These weapons have been in operational use and are not new.
2. The Libyan black market.
3. The Balkan black market, chiefly Serbia and Montenegro.
Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad cautioned Europe it would pay the price for delivering arms to rebel forces in Syria. In an interview to in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said: “If the Europeans deliver weapons, the backyard of Europe will become terrorist…”