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.