New report warns of anti-aircraft weapons in Syria


WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report by a respected international research group warns that armed groups in Syria have several hundred portable anti-aircraft missiles that could be diverted to extremists and used to destroy low-flying commercial planes.

Small Arms Survey, a Switzerland-based research organization that analyzes the global flow of weapons, published its findings Tuesday following last month's lethal missile attack on a passenger jet flying over Ukraine. The report focuses on launchers and missiles known as "man-portable air defense systems."

The report said the weapons — mostly Russian and Chinese-made — have been seized by Syrian opposition militias from government forces and smuggled in from nations sympathetic to the insurgents.

The report was released hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice to U.S. airlines banning all flights in Syrian airspace.

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