Does the Pentagon Buy Arms for Syrian Militants From Czech Gun Firms?

© AP PhotoA Free Syrian Army militant stands in front of a painting left by Daesh terrorists in Jarablus, Syria. File photo (File)
A Free Syrian Army militant stands in front of a painting left by Daesh terrorists in Jarablus, Syria. File photo  (File) - Sputnik International
The Czech Republic cannot be involved in delivering arms to terrorists, Jan Skalicky, chairman of the Association of Manufacturers and Sellers of Firearms and Ammunition, told Sputnik, commenting on a report about the US working with various contractors in Eastern Europe to supply arms to Syrian militants.

Speaking to Sputnik, the head of a Czech arms-selling association gave his thoughts on a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

According to the survey, the Pentagon is working with various contractors and sub-contractors in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet states to implement an arms and ammunition supply program that will cost $2.2 billion. Among other countries, the report mentioned the Czech Republic.

"As far as I know, these accusations pertain to the ruling circles of the United States rather than the Czech arms manufacturers. With all due respect to the money-does-not-stink principle, I do not think that Czech firms are engaged in such perversions as the supply of weapons to terrorists," Jan Skalicky told Sputnik.

He said that he "cannot imagine a situation when a Czech firm would ask for permission from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which, according to the law of 38/1994, is necessary for all trading operations, and would indicate terrorists as an end user."

"I cannot imagine that such a request would then be considered by the ministry. Such requests are handled, for example, by intelligence and security services," he said.

When asked about should Czech authorities actively intervene in the arms trade-related issues if there are suspicions that these weapons will subsequently be re-exported to countries where armed conflicts are taking place, Skalicky said that "they certainly should."

"However, it is absolutely impossible for such trade operations to be carried out under the guise of state armed forces or the government," he pointed out.

Earlier, Scott Bennett, former US Army psychological operations officer and State Department counterterrorism contractor, told Sputnik that the reported US supplies of Soviet-era munitions to Syrian rebels not only "openly violates" legal norms against financing terrorism, but also risks igniting a greater conflict across the Middle East.

According to the investigation by the  OCCRP and the BIRN, the Pentagon is buying the munitions through two channels: the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Picatinny Arsenal, a US Army weapons facility in New Jersey.

Free Syrian Army fighters patrol in Jarablus, Syria. (File) - Sputnik International
US Reportedly Allots Billions to Send Soviet-Style Arms to Syrian Rebels
The supplies are transported by sea and air from Europe to Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait and then distributed to US allied rebel forces in northern and southern Syria.

This equipment reportedly includes firearms, mortars, AK-47 rifles, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and various types of ammunition.

In its arms supplies for Syrian militants, the US is using "misleading documentation," undermining the UN's Arms Trade Treaty, the report said. However, the Pentagon denied the claims, saying that all of its papers are correct.

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