The Western arms pipeline to the Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad is starting to run dry since the discovery that some of the weapons are being resold and used by al Qaeda in its conquest of southern Syrian and takeover of positions on the Jordanian and Israel borders. French President Francois Hollande for this reason reversed his government’s policy. “We will not do it [send the Syrian rebel arms] as long as we cannot be certain that there is complete control of the situation by the opposition,” he said Friday, March 29.
That day too, Ankara announced that Turkish authorities had impounded 5,000 shotguns, rifles, starting pistols, gunstocks and 10,000 cartridges in the village of Akcakale before they were sent across into Syria.
DEBKAfile’s military sources: These steps are effectively putting in place a Western embargo on arms supplies to the Syrian rebels and not only the Assad regime. Saudi Arabia and Qatar remain their only sources of weapons.
This follows information reaching Washington, Paris, Ankara and Jerusalem in recent weeks that parts of the weapons consignments destined for the Syrian rebels, especially the Free Syrian Army, are being resold to Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamist militia which this week proclaimed itself al Qaeda of Syria amid a major offensive for the occupation of southern Syria.