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Syria denounces Qatar’s pledge to continue support for militants

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a view of the building of the Syrian Foreign Ministry in Damascus.

Damascus has lashed out at Qatar for its renewed declaration of support for militants operating in Syria, saying it reveals Doha’s participation in spreading Takfiri ideology.

In a statement on Monday, Syria's Foreign Ministry denounced comments by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani who said a day earlier that Doha would continue to arm Syrian militants even if US President-elect Donald Trump decides to end Washington’s support for them.

The ministry said that the comments by the Qatari diplomat showed the regime in Doha “is one of the sources of extremism, terrorism and Takfiri thought.”

Such remarks are merely an attempt "to raise the morale of the terrorist groups" in the face of recent advances by the Syrian army, the statement added.

On Monday, the Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of a strategic district in eastern Aleppo from militants.

State television reported that the army troops had seized full control of the al-Sakhour district in eastern Aleppo. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the government had taken the district. 

A Syrian Army soldier flashes the sign of victory during an assault to capture the militant-held village of Hawsh Nasri, which is located near the town of Douma on the eastern outskirts of the capital. Damascus. (Photo by AFP)

Since the conflict began in Syria in March 2011, Qatar has been one of the leading supporters of the militancy to oust President Bashar al-Assad. Reports have indicated that the monarchy has provided weapons, funds and media coverage to al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria, which operated for more than three years under the title of al-Nusra Front before changing its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Qatar is also playing a major role in encouraging Turkey and the United States to support anti-Assad militants. However, recent gains by the Syrian army and its allies north of the country have made it increasingly difficult for the militants to receive arms and funding from across the Turkish border.

There are conflicting reports about the death toll from the Syrian conflict.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict while United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has estimated that more than 400,000 people have lost their lives due to the turmoil.

The Syrian government blames the West and their regional allies for the spread of militancy in the Arab country, saying the terrorists could not have survived without support from certain countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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