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Russia has replaced Iran as top arms supplier to Syrian regime

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WASHINGTON — The United States has determined that Russia increased military aid to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A leading U.S. diplomat said Russia has replaced Iran as the leading military supplier to Damascus.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, said the Kremlin has delivered massive amounts of conventional weapons to Assad’s military.

“The Russian deliveries have become more significant than from Iran,” Ford said.

In testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Oct. 31, Ford did not specify Russian arms deliveries to Syria. The ambassador said the
Russian and Iranian military aid was sustaining the Assad regime.

“More and more, the regime is dependent on foreign manpower,” Ford said. Russia has been deemed a leading military supplier to Syria. Over the last two years, officials said, the Kremlin approved the deliveries of air defense systems, cruise missiles and helicopter upgrades.

Despite massive Iranian and Russian aid, Assad has failed to crush the
Sunni revolt, nearing its third year. Ford said the conflict in Syria has
deteriorated into a “grinding war of attrition,” with the Al Qaida-aligned
rebel movement in control over much of the country’s borders.

“Neither the regime nor the opposition can throw a knockout punch,” Ford
said. “We don’t see a way for this to be solved militarily.”

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