Arming rebels in Syria pushes for fully fledged civil war: dissidents

March 5, 2012 11:30 am 

DAMASCUS, March 5 — Leading opposition figures in Syria lambasted on Sunday calls by the opposition abroad as well as some foreign and Arab countries for arming the rebels in Syria, stressing that it would bring about "an all-out civil war."

"We are against the calls of arming the opposition because it would be the key to an all-out civil war," Hassan Abdul-Azim, head of the National Coordination Body, told Xinhua Sunday.

In Paris last week, Syria's major opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), declared that it would probably inaugurate a military representation in Turkey in an effort to provide the opponents with weapons.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, SNC chief Burhan Ghalioun said a new "military bureau" would coordinate the armed resistance and act as a conduit for foreign countries seeking to send arms into Syria.

"No matter how armed the opposition might get, the regime in Syria has the largest arsenal of weapons, and arming the opposition would shed more blood, and we are against it," Azim said, suggesting that "there are several peaceful democratic means that should be followed in order to solve the Syrian crisis away from militarizing the popular uprising."

Another opponent, Luai Hussain, head of the Building Syria State party, expressed resentment over the proposed methods to solve the one-year-old unrest, suggesting that "the West hasn't showed a direct appeal to militarily intervene in Syria, but still some broad-based opponents have been trying to convince the international community about the necessity of a military intervention as the sole savior."

Hussian lashed out at the opposition abroad, namely the SNC, saying "those who call for arming the rebels have blood on their hands and thus they don't have the right to set conditions for dialogue or negotiations."

"What I fear today are some parties that work on forming a cover to other countries that want to financially support the armed conflict," said Hussian, adding that the Friends of Syria conference, took place in Tunis lately, had given Saudi and Qatar the chance to support the armed groups in Syria.

During the Friends of Syria meeting, the Saudi foreign minister said arming the Syrian opposition would be an "excellent idea. " His Qatari counterpart also recommended the creation of an Arab peacekeeping force to "open humanitarian corridors to provide security to the Syrian people."

Meanwhile, Qatar's Emir suggested in January that "to stop the killing" in Syria, "some troops should go."

"These calls represent a strong push to an all-out civil war," Hussain said, regarding the calls as "indirect military intervention."

Besides, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi on Wednesday described the Qatari and Saudi calls as "hostile to Syria," placing on those who announce such calls the political responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria.

"The Syrian response to such calls was reserved. We would like the brothers in Qatar and Saudi Arabia or whomsoever to contribute to getting the opposition figures to act rationally and come to the dialogue table, and not to arming the opposition and shedding the Syrian blood, for which they are fully responsible as they are consciously shedding it," Makdissi said.

Moreover, U.S. President Barack Obama has recently vowed to use "every tool available" to help the Syrian opposition. Despite the fact that there have not been overt calls by the United States and Europe to arm the rebels inside Syria, some recent reports suggested otherwise.

A general in the opposition militia known as the Free Syria Army has told journalists in restive Homs province in central Syria that the rebels have received French and American military assistance.

The unnamed general appeared on camera and told a journalist from Reuters that "French and American assistance has reached us and is with us." When asked to elaborate on the nature of the assistance he added, "We now have weapons and anti-aircraft missiles and, God willing, with all of that we will defeat ( President) Bashar (al-Assad)."

Also, Turkey, once a key alley to Syria, has overtly expressed its support to arming the opposition in Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the international community's message might be conveyed to the Syrian administration via certain methods including the arming of the SNC.

The Syrian government has repeatedly and overtly accused Arab and Western countries of tunneling weapons to the armed groups in Syria in addition to rendering financial support to them.

Syria said in December of last year that "armed terrorist groups" had killed more than 2,000 army and security personnel, while the UN said recently that "well over" 7,500 people have died in Syria's prolonged violence. (PNA/Xinhua)

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