Damascus: Saudi Arabia officials are planning to pay the salaries of the rebel group in Syria in a bid to encourage mass defections from the military and increasing pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to a report.
The move has been discussed between Riyadh and senior officials in the US and the Arab world.
It is believed to be gaining momentum as a recent flush of weapons sent to the Free Syria Army (FSA) by Saudi Arabia and Qatar starts to make an impact on battlefields in Syria, The Guardian reports.
According to the paper, officials in the Saudi capital embraced the idea when it was put to them by Arab officials in May.
Sources revealed that around the same time weapons started to flow across the southern Turkish border into the hands of Free Syria Army leaders.
Turkey has also allowed the establishment of a command centre in Istanbul which is co-ordinating supply lines in consultation with FSA leaders inside Syria.
The plan centres on paying the FSA in either US dollars or euros, meaning their salaries would be restored to their pre-revolution levels, or possibly increased, the paper said.
According to the report, the influx of weapons has reinvigorated the insurrection in northern Syria, which less than six weeks ago was on the verge of being crushed.
The move to pay salaries to rebel forces is seen as a chance to capitalise on the sense of renewed confidence, as well as provide a strong incentive for soldiers and officers to defect.