However, an international decision to support the FSA could risk a backlash from the Syrian regime and its powerful allies in Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, risking trouble spilling beyond its borders. Furthermore, while backing an FSA campaign of attrition against the Assad regime may be seen in the West as the least worst solution in the absence of a diplomatic alternative and or international intervention, but the level of violence in Syria would assuredly increase and could last many months before the balance falls in favor of the opposition.
Obtaining sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain the struggle against the Assad regime is a daily challenge for the FSA, which has tenuous control of some Damascus suburbs, part of the Idlib province in the north, and the town of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon.
“We need everything,” says Mohammed, an FSA officer in his late 30s who was hiding in the home of a radical Lebanese cleric in Tripoli. “RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], PKCs [light machine guns], silencers, ammunition. There are so many of us that we need much more than we are getting.”
Some weapons are smuggled through Lebanon’s border with Syria, although the quantity is small and on an individual basis. Other weapons are brought across the border with Turkey, which FSA fighters can cross with relative ease.
Diplomatic sources say that weapons are also crossing into Syria from Iraq on a “tribe to tribe” basis, meaning the Sunni tribes of Iraq’s Al-Anbar province supplying their brethren in eastern Syria. The sources say that the Kurds in northern Iraq are also dispatching armaments to the Kurds of northeast Syria although most of it is being stockpiled for now.
Another valuable source of arms is coming from the regular Syrian Army itself, according to FSA officers.