The Saudi regime will pay the salaries of members of the terrorist Free Syrian Army amid ongoing attacks carried out by armed groups inside Syria, a report says. According to a June 22 report published by the UK newspaper Guardian, Saudi authorities will pay the armed rebels to encourage “mass defections from the military and… pressure” the Damascus government. The plan has been discussed between officials from Riyadh and Washington, as well as representatives from a number of other Arab states. US Senator Joe Lieberman also brought up the issue of the salaries during talks with Saudi officials in a recent trip to the kingdom. According to Lieberman’s spokesperson, the US senator “called for the US to provide robust and comprehensive support” to the armed rebels. Lieberman “specifically called for the US to work with… partners to provide” the rebels with “weapons, training, tactical intelligence, secure communications and other forms of support.” Meanwhile, armed groups continue conducting attacks in Syria. The official Syrian news agency, SANA, said terrorists killed 25 civilians in the northern province of Aleppo on June 22.
The Guardian also stated that Turkey has allowed the “establishment of a 22-member command center in Istanbul which is coordinating supply lines” for the rebels inside Syria.The report was published a day after the New York Times quoted some US and Arab intelligence officials as saying that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for the transport of weaponry for the armed gangs in Syria.
On February 24, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said during a meeting of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group in Tunisia that supplying weapons to Syrian rebels is “an excellent idea.”Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on March 4 that the “international community’s message might be conveyed to the Syrian administration via certain methods including the arming of the (so-called) Syrian National Council (SNC).” Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree on Saturday, forming a new government under Prime Minister Riad Farid Hijab, the former agriculture minister who was appointed the Syrian premier on June 6. The move was part of the reforms promised by the Syrian president. Assad said on June 3 that the country is “facing a war from abroad,” adding that attempts are being made to “weaken Syria, [and] breach its sovereignty.” “Standing up against the conspiracy is not easy, but we will overcome the obstacles,” he stated. HSN/PKH/IS