STOCKHOLM, Sweden, March 19 (UPI) -- Syria's imports of major weapons increased by 580 percent between 2002 and 2011, says a report published by a think tank in Stockholm, Sweden.
The report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Syria in recent years (2007-2011) got 78 percent of its arms imports from Russia, including Buk-M2E SAM systems and Bastion-P coastal defense missile systems, and secured an order for 36 Yak-130 trainer/combat aircraft.
Belarus supplied Syria with 17 percent and Iran 5 percent of the arms imports during that period, the report says.
The governments of Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Tunisia, countries that have had Arab Spring uprisings, used imported weapons in the suppression of peaceful demonstrations, the report asserts.
Egypt is the largest arms importer of those five countries, its shipments coming mainly from the United States, the report says.
"The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier states. However, the impact of these debates on states' arms export policies has, up to now, been limited," said Mark Bromley, senior researcher with the institute.