The weapons smuggling to the Syrian rebels began in March when Assad
forces shot and killed members of tribes in Dera near the Jordanian border.
Some of the tribes in Dera have links with supporters in Iraq, Jordan and
Saudi Arabia, Middle East Newsline reported.
On April 19, a son of a powerful tribal chief, Saleh Al Fadous, was
killed by Assad forces in the northern city of Homs. Fadous is a member of
the Fawareh tribe with allies in Iraq and Jordan, including Duleimeh and
"Arms are flowing into Syria in large quantities today by tribal leaders
whose traditional bonds with the tribes of Syria make it impossible not to
smuggle arms," the Reform Party of Syria said. "As Assad massacres continue
against unarmed civilians, he is also driving the country towards an
outright civil war."
RPS, in a statement on April 23, said Bani Hassan was a leading ally of
King Abdullah in Jordan. For its part, Duleimeh, descendants of the Shaalan
tribe, was connected to and supportive of the Saudi royal family.
The Assad regime has confirmed arms smuggling from Iraq, Jordan and
Lebanon. In mid-April, an Iraqi truck driver confessed to receiving
thousands of dollars for arms shipments to Syria.
On April 26, the Syrian-influenced Lebanese daily Al Akhbar quoted a
Lebanese mayor as saying that an attempt to smuggle weapons to Syria was
foiled. Al Hisha Mayor Mohammed Durgham was quoted as saying that villagers
were conducting patrols to stop any smuggling.