A Saudi Arabian official has reportedly disclosed that the Sunni kingdom sent Syrian rebels a new batch of one of the most effective weapons for battling against the Assad regime this week. BBC correspondent Frank Gardner tweeted that a Saudi official confirmed the delivery of 500 TOW antitank missiles to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA is currently being squeezed from all directions by the Syrian military, Russian airstrikes, and competition from jihadist fighters, including ISIS. The delivery of the TOW missiles — which have also been provided by the CIA — will increase the capabilities of the FSA against Syrian armor, and it would enable them to more effectively battle against Assad’s recent military advances. “Five hundred TOWs is not an inconsequential number,” Jeffrey White, a defense fellow at The Washington Institute, told Business Insider.
“I don’t think it will be a revolutionary event, but it will increase the attrition of regime armor, which will make it harder for the regime to conduct offensive operations.” TOW missiles, as Popular Mechanics notes, are guided missiles that could thoroughly damage tanks, armored carriers, and other vehicles that the Assad regime might send into the field. And, unlike other projectiles used against armored targets, such as RPGs, TOW missiles can be used from a considerable distance. On Thursday, the FSA and other affiliated rebel units carried out a “tank massacre” after the Syrian government launched a large offensive backed by Russian airstrikes to retake northern portions of Hama province. CONTINUE