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Qatar Favors Arming Syrian Opposition: PM

Feb. 27, 2012 - 10:56AM   |  
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OSLO — Qatar’s prime minister said Feb. 27 he was in favor of delivering arms to the Syrian opposition that is battling President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“We should do whatever necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said during an official visit to Norway.

“This uprising in Syria now [has lasted] one year. For 10 months, it was peaceful: Nobody was carrying weapons, nobody was doing anything. And Bashar continued killing them,” he told a news conference.

“So I think they’re right to defend themselves by weapons, and I think we should help these people by all means,” he added.

More than 7,600 people have been killed in violence across Syria since anti-regime protests erupted in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Qatari prime minister also reiterated that his country is in favor of sending an international peacekeeping force to Syria, with an Arab “core.”

“The [U.N.] Security Council failed to take responsibilities to stop the killing,” he lamented, adding: “We believe that the Arabs [are] capable [of doing] that.

“We need [an international] coalition, but the core of the coalition should be an Arab force,” Al-Thani said.

At the beginning of the month, Russia and China blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian regime’s crackdown.

Last week in Tunis, a “Friends of Syria” international conference, in which Moscow and Beijing refused to take part, discussed several ways to help opponents of Assad’s regime, but put off a decision on sending a joint Arab League-U.N. peacekeeping force.

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