March 22, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank has revived the debate inside Syria about why America refuses to arm the rebels. Whether true or not, players in the Syrian opposition believe the United States is holding Arab and European countries back from providing weapons as they say Russia continues to arm the regime. SAS News reporter Abbas Deiri spoke with the defected Sergeant Muhammad Qaysoon, formerly of the Syrian Arab Arym. He is currently residing in Talbisah in Homs province. In his previous post, Qaysoon served in the Central Command, the second-closest circle to the Assad regime, he says.
Q: Is Russia selling defensive weapons only to Syria?
A: This is groundless and what’s happening in Syria proves the opposite. The regime is using artillery with a range of 40 kilometers. They’re also using ground-to-ground missiles of medium range against Homs, Aleppo, Outer Damascus and most of the Syrian cities. Are these defensive weapons? [This video from last months purports to show a Russian-made missile head in the town of Kafr Batna.]
Q: In your experience, how does the regime differentiate between offensive and defensive weapons?
A: The offensive weapons are the ones with long-range capabilities, usually used to hit targets behind enemy lines. That includes ground-to-ground missiles of medium range like the Russian Scud and Fateh 110, which is a Russian missile developed by the Iranians. The regime also uses heavy Russian artillery. Offensive weapons are categorized by the destruction they can incur given the distance between the base and the target. The closer the weapon is set on the front line, the more it’s likely to be considered defensive. An RPG is an example of a defensive weapon. Light arms such as machine guns are used in direct encounters with the enemy on the front lines.
Q: Where does the regime get most of its weapons?
A: Most of the regime’s weapons are Russian-made. They also have Chinese weapons and Korean radars.