February 24, 2012 / 1:13 PM / 6 years ago

Syria rebels get arms from abroad -opposition source

TUNIS, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Western and other countries are turning a blind eye to weapons purchases by Syrian exiles who are already smuggling light arms, communications equipment and night vision goggles to rebels inside Syria, a Syrian opposition source said on Friday.

Syrian opposition supporters were also trying to find ways to bring anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to the Free Syrian Army, which is composed mainly of Syrian soldiers who have defected and volunteer civilians, the source said.

Contacts were also ongoing to find ways to get retired Syrian officers into the country to act as advisers in an effort to coordinate rebels fighting in a near year-long uprising against Bashar al-Asad’s rule.

“We are bringing in defensive and offensive weapons... It is coming from everywhere, including Western countries and it is not difficult to get anything through the borders,” the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There is not a decision by any country to arm the rebels but countries are allowing Syrians to buy weapons and send them into the country.” (Reporting by Lin Noueihed and John Irish)

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