US says not supplying Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) said on Wednesday it has not supplied Stinger missiles to Syrian rebel forces and appeared to question Russian assertions that the US-made surface-to-air missiles had made their way into the opposition's hands.
Stinger missiles could be used against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's warplanes and helicopters, which have bombed residential areas where rebels are hiding. More than 32,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
But in contrast to the Libyan crisis last year, the West has shown little appetite to arm the Syrian rebels, worried that weapons would fall into the hands of Islamic militants.
Russia's top military officer, Nikolai Makarov, said Russia's military had learned that rebel forces "have portable missile launchers of various states, including American-made Stingers."