WASHINGTON - Fresh consignments of heavy weapons have recently been sent to Syria in a “renewed effort by outside powers” to arm the Free Syrian Army battling to oust the government of President Bashar al-Assad, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

In recent weeks, anti-tank weapons and recoilless rifles, among other arms, have been sent across the Jordanian border into the Syrian province of Daraa, the newspaper reported from Antakya (Turkey), citing Arab and opposition officials. The weapons influx reportedly serves the purpose of countering “the growing influence of Islamist extremist groups in the north of Syria by boosting more moderate groups fighting in the south,” the officials told the Post.

The officials declined to identify the source of the newly provided weapons, but they noted that the countries most closely involved in supporting the rebels’ campaign to oust President Assad have grown increasingly alarmed at the soaring influence of Islamists over the fragmented rebel movement. They include the United States and its major European allies, along with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two countries most directly involved in supplying the rebels.

“The idea was to get heavier stuff, intensify supply and make sure it goes to the good guys,” an Arab official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post. “If you want to weaken al-Nusra, you do it not by withholding [weapons] but by boosting the other groups.”