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WEAPONS

Stray Swedish weapons show up in Syria

Syrian rebels appear to be using Swedish weapons, visible in a new video that has emerged from the civil war in which an anti-regime fighter cradles a well-known Swedish model of anti-tank rifle.

Stray Swedish weapons show up in Syria

TV4 news found the video in which a rebel fighter emerges with a Carl Gustaf rocket launcher perched on his right shoulder.

The report dubs the weapon a “Swedish export success story”.

It is the second time in the past few months that Swedish weapons have made their way to countries to which Sweden does not export arms.

The last case was unearthed in Burma, to which the European Union forbids all weapons exports.

Pictures taken by a Burmese freelance photographer and published in the Swedish media in December 2012 showed a Carl Gustaf M3 anti-tank rifle and ammunition left behind by Burmese government soldiers. They were recovered by Kachin rebels after recent clashes.

A serial number was traced back to a shipment from Sweden to India, where the government promised to investigate the matter.

As the new example of stray weapons emerged on Wednesday night from Syria, a Swedish military expert confirmed that TV4 had correctly identified the “effective, popular and easy-to-use” Carl Gustaf model.

“Sweden has sold this model to about 40 countries,” said Christoffer Burnett-Cargill at the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (Svenska freds).

“It shows our export checks and balances don’t work. Yet again, Swedish weapons have been diverted.”

TT/The Local/at

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WEAPONS

Sweden world’s 13th most peaceful nation

Sweden has been ranked the 13th most peaceful country in the world by a global peace index, down from 11th in 2014.

Sweden world's 13th most peaceful nation
Sweden's arms trade is keeping it down in the rankings. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

According to the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), recently released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Iceland remains the world's most peaceful country.

Sweden's other Nordic neighbours Denmark, Finland and Norway all ranked in the top 20, taking the second, sixth and 17th spots respectively.

Denmark also came in second in the 2013 and 2014 reports, each time snapping at the heels of Iceland, which has been declared the world's most peaceful country each year since 2008.

According to the report, 15 of the 20 most peaceful countries in the world are in Europe, while the Middle East and North Africa remain the most violent regions in the world. The United States was at number 94, while Syria was at the very bottom of the 162-country list.

“The most substantial changes in the Index occurred in the Middle East and North Africa where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts,” the report noted.

Like in previous years, Sweden, which in 2014 celebrated two centuries of peace, is kept down in the rankings largely because it sells arms to other countries.

Despite enjoying a global reputation for peacemaking and generous foreign aid, the Scandinavian nation is the world's 11th largest exporter of weapons, including Saab's Jas Gripen jets, and has counted a number of regimes criticized for human rights abuses as its customers since the Cold War ended, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

READ ALSO: Sweden scraps controversial Saudi arms deal

The GPI comprises 23 indicators of the existence of violence or fear of violence, which include metrics such as the level of perceived criminality in the society, impact of terrorism, and military expenditure as percentage of the country's gross domestic product.

Each of the indicators for a given country is graded on a scale of one to five and then indexed into a final score, which can then be compared against other countries.

Sweden's indexed score was 1.36 while Iceland's was 1.148. In comparison, Syria's score was 3.645. Notably, Sweden scored around 1.0 or at least below 2.0 in nearly all areas apart from 'weapons exports' in which it received 5 out of 5.

A video explainer from the Institute for Economics and Peace is below and an interactive map can be accessed here