Saudi Arabia is willing to supplu Syrian rebel groups with anti-air and anti-tank missiles capable of striking Russian T-90 tanks and MLRS rocket launchers.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister, plans to arm Syrian rebels militias with missiles capable of striking the new Russian T-90 tanks, DEBKAfile reported Friday quoting unnamed sources as saying.
According to the sources, the T-90s were shipped directly to the Syrian army’s armed divisions in the last two weeks from the Russian Black Sea base of Novorossiysk.
The big Russian landing craft Novocherkassk, which unloaded a further supply of tanks at Tartus port on Thursday, Thursday, March 3, also delivered a consignment of MLRS rocket launchers, the DEBKAfile report said.
A second Russian vessel is heading for Syria with more hardware.
This is in line with Moscow’s decision to upgrade the Syrian army’s armaments and rebuild the units severely ravaged by five years of combat. For Riyadh, this is tantamount to the indefinite and unacceptable prolongation of Assad's days in power.
Most Western and Middle East observers think the Saudis may be bluffing about their plan to arm Syrian rebels with missiles, as a ploy to get Washington and Moscow to treat them seriously as a player on the Syrian stage and take their interests into account. Ideally, Riyadh would hope to break up American cooperation with Iran in Iraq and Russian cooperation with Iran in Syria.
According to a high-ranking Saudi source, the decision to arm Syrian rebels with missiles is final. He said, “The Syrian opposition might soon acquire surface-to-air missiles, which will raise the wrath of Russia and Iran.” He added, “No Saudi official will own up to these consignments but, just as 30 years ago, Saudi Arabia was not deterred from intervening in Afghanistan against the Russian army – and we came out the winners” - we will not hesitate to take on the Russian army in Syria too.