Images of rebels equipped with heavy arms have begun to circulate in recent days, and at least one news site has claimed that the source responsible is the US government.
On Monday, Israel’s Debkafile website reported that two moderate Syrian rebel militias — the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front — have been supplied with advanced US weapons, including armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles, thanks to the Pentagon.
According to Debkafile’s report, US Gen. Martin Dempsey — the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — asked officials in Israel last week to help get Saudi Arabian fighter jets stationed at the kingdom’s Faisal Air Base at Tabuk near Jordan positioned in a manner that would provide air cover as American forces moved the weapons into southern Syria. Debkafile attributed the claims to unnamed military sources.
Late last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that US President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah “appeared to narrow their disagreement on assisting Syrian rebels” amidst a meeting between the two. According to the Journal’s report, Obama administration officials said the meeting ended with the White House agreeing to increase its level of assistance to Syrian rebels.
“Senior US officials said their goal is to provide assistance to moderate Syrian rebels not just as a ‘counterweight’ to the Assad regime, but also to extremist elements of the opposition,” Carol Lee and Ellen Knickmeyer wrote for the paper.