Syrian opposition sources said tribes in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon have been relaying weapons in an effort to oust President Bashar Assad. They said the weapons were sent to avenge the killing by Syrian security forces of tribal members over the last month.

"One of Assad's biggest mistakes is that his security forces have been killing members of powerful tribes with a presence in neighboring countries as well," an opposition source said.

The weapons smuggling to the Syrian rebels began in March when Assad forces shot and killed members of tribes in Dera near the Jordanian border. Some of the tribes in Dera have links with supporters in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Middle East Newsline reported.

On April 19, a son of a powerful tribal chief, Saleh Al Fadous, was killed by Assad forces in the northern city of Homs. Fadous is a member of the Fawareh tribe with allies in Iraq and Jordan, including Duleimeh and Bani Hassan.

"Arms are flowing into Syria in large quantities today by tribal leaders whose traditional bonds with the tribes of Syria make it impossible not to smuggle arms," the Reform Party of Syria said. "As Assad massacres continue against unarmed civilians, he is also driving the country towards an outright civil war."

RPS, in a statement on April 23, said Bani Hassan was a leading ally of King Abdullah in Jordan. For its part, Duleimeh, descendants of the Shaalan tribe, was connected to and supportive of the Saudi royal family.

The Assad regime has confirmed arms smuggling from Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In mid-April, an Iraqi truck driver confessed to receiving thousands of dollars for arms shipments to Syria.

On April 26, the Syrian-influenced Lebanese daily Al Akhbar quoted a Lebanese mayor as saying that an attempt to smuggle weapons to Syria was foiled. Al Hisha Mayor Mohammed Durgham was quoted as saying that villagers were conducting patrols to stop any smuggling.