‘Saudi sends military equipment to Syria rebels’

Last Updated: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 22:00

Dubai: Saudi Arabia is delivering
military equipment to Syrian rebels in an effort to stop
bloodshed by President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, a top Arab
diplomat said on Saturday.

"Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to
arm the Free Syrian Army," the diplomat said on condition
of anonymity.

"This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in
Syria," he added saying further "details will follow at a
later time."

The announcement came two days after the kingdom said
it had shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrawn all its
staff.

Riyadh has taken a strong stance against the
escalating bloodshed and, along with its five Gulf Cooperation
Council partners, expelled Syrian envoys last month and
withdrew their own over the "mass slaughter" of civilians.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud
al-Faisal publicly defended the right of the Syrian opposition
to arm itself.

"It is the right of the Syrians to arm themselves in
order to defend themselves. Weapons used to target homes are
used in wars with enemies," he said.

King Abdullah had also previously called for "critical
measures" to be taken on Syria, warning of an impending
"humanitarian disaster."
Last week, Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud
said Saudi Arabia and Qatar were backing "armed terrorist
gangs" operating in the country and are therefore responsible
for the resulting bloodshed.

"Some of the countries backing armed terrorist gangs,
such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are accomplices to the
terrorism targeting the Syrian people ... and bear
responsibility for the bloodletting," he said.

Those charges were renewed on Syrian state television
on Saturday after two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27
people and wounded almost 100 in central Damascus.
"Saudi Arabia is sending us terrorists," a resident of
the devastated areas said on television.

"These are the friends ... of the Istanbul council,"
said another, referring to the opposition Syrian National
Council set up in the Turkish city last August.

At least 9,100 people, most of them civilians, have
been killed since the uprising against Syria`s President
Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.(AFP)

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 21:55

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