U.S. weapons show up in hands of pro-Assad militants

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Weapons from the United States and other Western countries have been showing up in the hands of Shiite militants backed by Iran, who are fighting to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

The United States is already sending aid — including weapons and funding — to rebel fighters in Syria who are trying to oust the leader.

The Associated Press reported that analysts aren’t sure if the weapons that have reached the pro-Assad fighters were stolen, captured or purchased on the black market, or if they filtered in somehow from Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya.

But most are arms the militant fighters “shouldn’t really have their hands on,” said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a website tied to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, AP reported. He added: Iranians like to demonstrate “they have weapons and systems that are very close to the Americans.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the White House has already moved “to do everything possible to ensure that any aid is making its way into the right hands in Syria,” AP said.

The weapons were discovered after U.S. analysts saw Facebook photograph postings from the Shiite militants holding the weapons. The weapons looked brand new, Mr. Smyth said, in the AP report.

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