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US permits donation to Syrian rebels for weapons

Last Updated: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 11:16

Damascus: The Obama administration has reportedly cleared the way for Americans to start donating money to buy weapons for Syria`s rebels.

The US Treasury granted a license to the Syrian Support Group (SSG), a Washington-based organisation with close links to the opposition, to begin fund-raising on behalf the rebels.

According to the Telegraph, supporters of the rebel group Free Syrian Army (FSA) have hailed the move as a ‘game-changer’ in the effort to equip the rebellion with modern weapons capable of matching those of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The Treasury license allows the SSG to supply the rebels with ‘financial, communications, logistical and other services otherwise prohibited’ by American sanctions on Syria, although it does not permit the group to directly purchase weapons.

“This is a game-changer in terms of funding and a sign of a gradual policy shift by the US government,” the paper quoted Brian Sayers, the SSG`S Director of Government Relations, as saying.

“We are optimistic that it will help change the situation on the battlefield in a positive way for the FSA,” he added.

Sayers, however, warned that even a reliable stream of modern weaponry would not be enough to allow the rebels to turn the tide against Assad`s troops.

“It`s not going to be sufficient – even if we raised 50 million dollars for fantastic weaponry it`s not going to allow the FSA to defend a safe zone from Assad`s fighter aircraft,” he said.


First Published: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 11:16
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