Syria’s thriving weapons bazaar

Weapons from assault rifles to parts for anti-tank missiles are cheaply and readily available in rebel-held parts of Syria via a black market on the mobile telephone app Telegram, an analysis showed.

An investigation conducted by Foreign Policy said many of these weapons originated from a CIA programme to equip anti-Assad rebels.

Other weapons, including the chemicals needed to make improvised explosive devices, appear to have come into the country from Turkish suppliers.

“The markets have hosted over 5,000 users and catered to buyers and sellers primarily based in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib,” authors Adam Rawnsley, Eric Woods and Christiaan Triebert wrote.

“The province is home to a diverse array of rebel groups, including factions that used to receive advanced weaponry from the CIA,” they said.

The United States stopped arming Syrian rebel groups in July.