The international community has slapped sanctions on the Assad regime but so far has shown a reluctance to play a more direct role. On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged a delegation from the Syrian National Council, the leading opposition body, to maintain “peaceful means” in pursuing its resistance against the Assad regime.
The prices of black-market weapons have climbed steadily since mid-March 2011, when the uprising began, but arms dealers say there has been a jump lately in the prices of certain armaments.
“There’s a big demand right now for rocket-propelled grenade launchers, hand grenades, and ammunition,” says Abu Rida, a stocky arms dealer in Beirut.
The price of a good quality Russian AK-47 assault rifle has almost doubled in the past 10 months from around $1,100 to $2,100. A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher cost $900 last March and a single grenade was priced at around $100. Today an RPG launcher is worth $2,000 and each grenade $500.
“The prices are crazy. And it’s all going to Syria,” Abu Rida says. “The market is so strong that ordinary people are selling their rifles to make a quick profit.”