Did U.S. weapons supplied to Syrian rebels draw Russia into the conflict?

BEIRUT — American antitank missiles supplied to Syrian rebels are playing an unexpectedly prominent role in shaping the Syrian battlefield, giving the conflict the semblance of a proxy war between the United States and Russia, despite President Obama’s express desire to avoid one.

The U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW missiles were delivered under a two-year-old covert program coordinated between the United States and its allies to help vetted Free Syrian Army groups in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad. Now that Russia has entered the war in support of Assad, they are taking on a greater significance than was originally intended.

Compilation of Syrian rebels using BGM-71 TOW on Syrian Arab Army

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    The TOW Missiles that we gave the Free Syrian Army are some really devastating weapons.

    Keep in mind those are the 25-year old monkey models and not quite what our frontline troops would have now, but they are fully capable of opening up any Soviet armor in their inventory.
    I guess Assad is lucky that we didn’t give the Free Syrian Army a bunch of Javelin “fire and forget” anti-armor missiles. Then they would be in a bunch of trouble.

    • They really do a number on a tank.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        The models that the Free Syrian Army are using will penetrate 2-feet of steel armor, and I don’t know of any tanks in the world that have that thick of armor anywhere.
        Essentially, they destroy all tanks that they hit.

        • Cripes. What about reactive armour? No defenses?

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Well, depending on the model of TOW, the new two stage warheads tend to make reactive armor much less effective than it used to be.

        • Maurixio Garciasanchez

          Time for the US to hand over whatever it conquered in the last invasion over there .

        • Minicapt

          I would suggest not; after eight inches of penetration, the hole diametre has tapered to about one inch. The deeper the penetration, the narrower the hole.


    • Maurixio Garciasanchez

      Now is time to give that to them , the Russians are bombing them so hard .

      • ntt1

        they didn’t conquer anything you barrucho clown, obama made sure of that.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    So far, it appears that the rebel forces are holding their own and the meat grinder will be cranking out ground flesh for the foreseeable future.

  • ntt1

    the problem is islam and until that unlikely day Russian and American join up in defeating the real foe, the middle east will just become a bloodbath, islam must be pushed back to the dunes of soddy arabia where it belongs.

  • simus1

    More BS from WaPo.
    An emissary from Putin will have a quiet word with some Saudi ambassador somewhere with direct access to the ruling royals and TOWs will go “no longer available, sorry”.
    Two can play the TOW game. Or one could even make things very uncomfortable for many present rulers in the Gulf area with minimal effort.

  • Gary

    Syria is yet another unconstitutional U.S. war (see Libya and Yemen). We try to overthrow a Russian ally and then claim to be “shocked” that Russia is pissed.

    • Maurixio Garciasanchez

      The US is involved directly or indirectly in Syria most likely for oil , so now there is competition for the same sources Russia.

  • Everyone Else

    And we’re supposed to believe Obama just airdropped 50 tons of bullets for them to use. No bigger weapons in there?

    “The U.S. military airdropped 50 tons of small arms ammo and grenades in northern Syria on Sunday, a senior defense official told Fox News, representing the Pentagon’s shift from training rebel fighters to equipping them.

    Coming just two days after the Defense Department announced it was effectively ending its current training program, the airdrop delivery was made Sunday by four C-17 transport aircraft. The 112 pallets contained ammunition for M-16s and AK-47s.”