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Syrian Rebels Deny They Possessed Israeli-Made Weapons

The Free Syrian Army rejects reports that it possessed weapons manufactured in Israel and in the United States.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/13/2012, 7:15 AM

Syrian President Bashar Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad
Flash 90

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Syrian revolution coordination committees rejected on Sunday last week’s reports that Syrian security forces captured an “armed gang” whose members possessed weapons manufactured in Israel and in the United States, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

The newspaper quoted the Syrian Al-Baath newspaper, the ruling party’s mouthpiece in Syria, which last week reported about the capture of Israeli-made weapons and said that the one of the weapons caught “is made abroad and Syria does not produce it and the Israeli occupation entity is considered its largest producer in the region.”

The government-run SANA news agency had reported that the weapons were “high-quality weapons” and included sniper rifles, mortars, missiles and other explosives, the report claimed.

A leading FSA officer, however, rejected the reports and told Asharq Al-Awsat, “This is a scenario to scare the people. The fact is that [President Bashar] Al-Assad family's regime alone has been the agent of Israel for 40 years. It is starting today to claim that it is the target of an Israeli-American conspiracy and at times claims it is targeted by Al-Qaeda organization. We assert there are no foreign gunmen in Syria other than the fighters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah who are fighting alongside this regime for its survival.”

The officer, who asked to remain anonymous, added, “Why does Bashar al-Assad not allow the media to enter Syria and report the truth as it is?” He pledged to the Syrian people that the “FSA will live to their expectation and will continue to defend our people until the regime is brought down, especially after the international community has let us down.”

This is not the first time that Syrian authorities have claimed they seized Israeli ammunition in the country. In September Syria claimed it found a Peugeot 404 car loaded with Israeli weapons, explosive devices, ammunition and stolen military uniforms.

The Syrian government, which has been cracking down on anti-regime protesters, has often blamed foreign forces for inciting the protests. The authorities have more than once claimed that “armed terrorists” are the reason for the full mobilization of military forces in Syria.

Syria state television has even shown footage of “terrorists” confessing to building bombs in order to attack civilians and Syrian forces.