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Saudi supplying missiles to Syria rebels: Gulf source

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Amena Bakr

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia began supplying anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian opposition "on a small scale" about two months ago, a Gulf source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The shoulder-fired weapons were obtained mostly from suppliers in France and Belgium, the source told Reuters. France had paid for the transport of the weapons to the region.

The supplies were going to General Salim Idriss, leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who was still the kingdom's main "point man" in the opposition, the source said.

The Gulf source said without elaborating that Saudi Arabia had begun taking a more active role in the Syrian conflict in recent weeks due to the intensification of the conflict.

A foreign ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

King Abdullah returned to Saudi Arabia on Friday after cutting short a holiday in Morocco to deal with what state media described as "repercussions of the events that the region is currently witnessing".

Diplomatic sources in the kingdom say Riyadh has grown increasingly concerned after the entry of Lebanese Shi'ite militia Hezbollah into the conflict and the subsequent rebel defeat in Qusair.

(Reporting by Amena Bakr, Editing by William Maclean and Angus MacSwan)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130617/saudi-supplying-missiles-syria-rebels-gulf-source