First Published: 2012-03-17

 

Top diplomat: Saudi Arabia is smuggling arms to Syria

 

Arab diplomat says Saudi Arabia is delivering military equipment to Free Syrian Army ‘to stop bloodshed by Assad's regime’.

 

Middle East Online

Arms to stop violence?

DUBAI - Saudi Arabia is delivering military equipment to Syrian rebels in an effort to stop bloodshed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, a top Arab diplomat said on Saturday.

"Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the Free Syrian Army," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria," he added saying further "details will follow at a later time."

The announcement came two days after the kingdom said it had shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrawn all its staff.

Riyadh has taken a strong stance against the escalating bloodshed and, along with its five Gulf Cooperation Council partners, expelled Syrian envoys last month and withdrew their own over the "mass slaughter" of civilians.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal publicly defended the right of the Syrian opposition to arm itself.

"It is the right of the Syrians to arm themselves in order to defend themselves. Weapons used to target homes are used in wars with enemies," he said.

King Abdullah had also previously called for "critical measures" to be taken on Syria, warning of an impending "humanitarian disaster."

Last week, Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud said Saudi Arabia and Qatar were backing "armed terrorist gangs" operating in the country and are therefore responsible for the resulting bloodshed.

"Some of the countries backing armed terrorist gangs, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are accomplices to the terrorism targeting the Syrian people ... and bear responsibility for the bloodletting," he said.

Those charges were renewed on Syrian state television on Saturday after two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people and wounded almost 100 in central Damascus.

"Saudi Arabia is sending us terrorists," a resident of the devastated areas said on television.

"These are the friends ... of the Istanbul council," said another, referring to the opposition Syrian National Council set up in the Turkish city last August.

At least 9,100 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

 

Britain and EU: A fraught divorce

US-backed Syria fighters edge further into ISIS border hub

Tunisia flaunts seaside security to bring back tourists

Car bomb kills four civilians in Libya's Benghazi

Iran cracks down on ‘Western culture’ of canine ownership

Brexit vote lays bare depth of division across Britain

Libya govt. forces repel ISIS counterattack in Sirte

Oil slides on British referendum result

Crashed EgyptAir black boxes to go to France for repairs

5,000 migrants rescued from rubber dinghies in Mediterranean

Britain votes to break away from EU, PM resigns

Turkey acquits British academic over 'terror propaganda' charges

24 jailed in Bahrain for forming IS cell

Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah

Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Turkey in new quest to patch up with regional foes

Defiant Bahrain moves to dissolve opposition bloc

Kurdish-Arab forces push into IS Syria bastion of Manbij

Yemen govt says rebels must withdraw before any transition

Turkey confirms new accession talks with EU

Saudi suspect found dead after gunfight in Shiite town

Suspended Kuwait sues IOC for damages

Erdogan lashes out at EU treatment of Turkey

UN Chief, Saudi prince discuss situation in Yemen

Turkey blocks visit of German delegation to Incirlik air base

Trump goes on blistering offensive against Clinton

EU negotiators endorse new border force proposal

Head of EU parliament hopes to arrange meeting of Israeli, Palestinian leaders

Turkish prosecutors demand 14 years for activists

Final push for votes as EU leaders warn over Brexit

Egypt government appeals court block on islands’ transfer to Saudis

Heat, long fasting days take their toll on Cairo residents

Assad names Imad Khamis as new Prime Minister

Turkey wants Britain to stay in EU 'under any circumstances'

EU to open new membership talks with Turkey

Turkey arrests 3 IS suspects over 'LGBT rally plot'

Yemen rebels say consensus president crucial for peace deal

Fallujah 'almost cleared' of ISIS jihadists

Dawn prayers stoke fears for Turkey's Hagia Sophia

Turkish FM says normalisation deal depends on Israel

25 civilians killed in air raids on Syria’s Raqa

UN urges international community to aid civilians who fled Fallujah

UN envoy proposes roadmap for Yemen peace

Israel to open mission at NATO headquarters

6 Jordan soldiers killed in car bomb attack