PARIS, June 19 (KUNA) -- Foreign ministers from the "Core Group" within the
Friends of Syria grouping will meet next Saturday in Doha, capital of Qatar,
to discuss a list of weapons' demands submitted by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
They will decide on possible commitments on what each country can supply to
help the beleaguered opposition fighters in Syria, diplomatic sources
indicated here on Wednesday.
The "Core Group" is made up of eleven nations, including the United States,
Saudi Arabia, Britain, the UAE, France, Turkey, Qatar, Italy, Germany, Canada
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Doha meeting will
examine a list of weapons that the FSA is requesting in order to be able to
defend itself from the latest Syrian regime onslaught, which led to the fall
of Qusayr and is threatening certain outskirts of Damascus and even the major
city of Aleppo.
The list from the FSA contains a "broad spectrum" of material and weapons,
"ranging from tent pegs to anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons," the source
said in a briefing.
There will be a "collective, concerted and complementary answer" to the
demands and "a political decision" has been taken on this issue but there has
been no practical decision to act on this.
Diplomats here said that countries were "ticking off boxes" for which
supplies they could supply to the rebel forces.
The FSA handed over the list to the Core Group at recent talks in Ankara.
The list was transmitted by the FSA military commander Salim Idriss, who
expressed the urgency of getting arms in view of the push by regime forces
supported by Hezbollah.
The FSA list does not just include weapons, but also other materiel, and
the Core Group will be seeing what it can do and if it can do more
"qualitatively and in quantity."
Officials here confirmed that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will
be attending the meeting Saturday in Doha, before joining an official visit to
Qatar by President Francois Hollande.
France has been pushing for European Union approval for arms deliveries to
the opposition in Syria, but the EU was divided on the question.
The embargo on arms deliveries was lifted by the EU at the end of May but
there was a tacit agreement not to deliver weapons before August 1 so as not
to harm preparations for the Geneva II peace conference.
But as the prospect of this conference is diminishing, there is again a
push to get weapons to the opposition fighters before they are overrun.
France, in particular, is also pushing the disparate opposition groups to
unify with a view to presenting a stronger front, both in the field and also
in the lead up to any peace talks. (end)
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