US supplies Syrian rebels with 50 tonnes of weapons

Four C-17 planes accompanied by fighter escort dropped pallets containing bullets and grenades.
Four C-17 planes accompanied by fighter escort dropped pallets containing bullets and grenades.

US MILITARY cargo planes dropped 50 tonnes of ammunition to a new coalition of rebels in Syria, it has been reported.

On Sunday, four C-17 planes accompanied by fighter escort dropped 119 pallets containing bullets and grenades to the Syrian Arab Coalition, an umbrella group uniting moderate rebels, The Times reports.

The supplies were dropped into al-Hasakah province, home to Syrian Kurds, Arabs and a minority Assyrian community.

All pallets were successfully recovered by friendly forces, a US official told CNN.

The ammunition was originally intended for the US military's "train and equip" mission, the official said. However, the US cancelled its $580m rebel-training programme, instead deciding to focus on supplying weapons to select groups.

Yesterday, the Syrian Arab Coalition, which has Washington's approval, said it had formed an alliance with the Kurdish YPG and YPJ forces, which have been fighting Isis in the north of Syria.

Rebels within the Democratic Forces of Syria said they intend to launch an offensive on the Isis capital of Raqqa within days, The Times reports.

Russia has been accused of targeting anti-Assad rebels in a bid to help President Bashar al-Assad's government, rather than to destroy Isis.

Russian jets have reportedly bombed more than 60 rebel targets, as US officials admitted they could do nothing to protect CIA-backed rebels.

The Russians "know their targets, and they have a sophisticated capacity to understand the battlefield situation", said Republican congressman Mike Pompeo, who is on the House of Representatives intelligence committee.

They are "bombing in locations that are not connected" to Isis, he added.

Topics:  editors picks rebels syria syrian crisis weapons

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