The war in Syria has long since become a major target for international arms shipments. Some are legal, some not, while others straddle a grey area in between.

As major powers like Russia and the US have become increasingly embroiled, so the stakes have risen and a determination to ensure their proxies on the ground - be they government or opposition - get the weapons they need has become a priority.

As our World coverage today reveals, the dangers in this are obvious. In the morass of the Syrian conflict, determining just who the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys are, and who exactly constitutes a safe bet when it comes to giving them weapons, has always been a lottery. The shooting down recently of a Russian warplane by an al-Qaeda linked group using a portable shoulder held missile launcher that may have been supplied from outside is a point in case.

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Known by their acronym MANPAD, short for “man-portable air defence system,” these weapons constitute one of the biggest challenges facing counter-terrorism agencies today and a serious threat to civil aviation.

Already the inevitable blame game has started, with Russia suggesting the Americans are now supplying MANPADS to Syrian jihadist rebels, while Washington denies any such thing.

That the use of MANPADs in global terrorist attacks has not been more frequent is perhaps testimony to the efforts of intelligence services to counter their threat.

Such efforts though are surely made only more difficult while those same weapons - sometimes with the assistance of various state actors - are passed on to those whose ideology and motives go hand in glove with Islamist inspired terror groups.

With such weapons already in the hands of jihadist groups, it seems only a matter of time before the use of MANPADs moves from the battlefields of Syria to be used in a terrorist ‘spectacular’ elsewhere.

With both state and black market arms dealers, intermediaries and end-use certificate falsification all at play here, new multilateral efforts must now be made to monitor and where necessary ban transfers of MANPADs to non-state actors.