The US move to lift some restrictions on arms supplies to the Syrian opposition could lead to the weapons ending up in terrorists’ hands, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said in an official statement.
“Certainly, the worst result of this decision would be those weapons, including MANPADs [man-portable anti-air missiles], ending up in the hands of terrorists, which of course poses a serious threat not only for the region, but for the entire world,” Peskov said.
Asked if the decision could be dangerous to the Russian Air Force, Peskov answered, “Definitely.”
The latest news comes just as US lawmakers have introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which aims to prevent taxpayer money being spent on supporting and arming international militant groups through covert operations and third states.
Earlier, the Obama administration granted a waiver to arming and supporting foreign mercenaries, stating that the move is “essential to the national security interests.”
A similar waiver was announced in September 2013, following the Ghouta chemical attack in August of that year.
In 2015, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016, with almost $500 million to arm and train gunmen operating in Syria.
The waiver could lead to an almost immediate escalation of the conflict, plunging the US into “a proxy war against the Russians and Syrians,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.
“The rebels, whom we cannot identify, are going to be getting some very sophisticated weapons. Potentially, I should say, man-portable air defense systems, which can knock down Russian and Syrian aircraft,” Maloof said.
“And the fact too, that we have stocks already in Europe that can easily be transferred with this waiver. Under the waiver, it’s supposed to be a 15-day notification to Congress, but Congress, as of tonight, Washington time, is going to be out of session until January. So these arms can go within hours.”