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Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:42PM
Foreign-backed militants in Syria (File photo)

Foreign-backed militants in Syria (File photo)

Foreign ministers of the countries supporting the militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have agreed to provide them “urgently” with arms. Top diplomats from Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States have attended the talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Saturday. The top officials agreed to "provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies and protect the Syrian people." Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said at the conference that arming the militants is the only way to achieve what he called peace in Syria. They also agreed "to channel all military support by the relevant countries through the Staff Chairmanship of the Syrian Supreme Military Council." On Friday, the militants announced that they had received new weapons that could lead to "changes" in the war against the Syrian government. On June 14, US President Barack Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants in Syria with more sophisticated weapons, claiming that the Syrian government had used “chemical weapons” against the militants and thus crossed Washington’s “red line.” Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants. Several international human rights organizations have accused militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes. SZH/AS
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