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The announcement came two days after the kingdom said it had shut down its embassy in Syria and withdrawn all its staff.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

 

Syria army agrees to respect truce in Syria’s Aleppo

Long Erdogan-Davutoglu honeymoon coming to an end

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza

UN urges to take action over rebel fire on besieged Yemen city

Will London elect its first Muslim mayor?

Tunisia confident border trade with Libya will resume 'very soon'

Malta likely to become first EU member to open Libya mission

Qaeda threatens to target homes of Yemen security forces

Anti-ISIS coalition pledges additional military commitment

UN warns Eastern Aleppo may soon become besieged

London set to elect its first Muslim Mayor

Fierce fighting rages in Aleppo as diplomacy efforts intensify

Riyadh's $22.5 bn Metro project on track

Egypt court sentences prominent activist to six months in prison

UK to take in more Syria child refugees

France to host Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Turkey FMs for Syria talks

US expects more military resources for anti-ISIS fight

Standoff escalates between Egypt journalists and authorities

Turkey says ready to send ground troops to Syria 'if necessary'

Hamas accuses Fatah of organising military cell in Gaza

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's last PM

Israel to upgrade ties with NATO as Turkey lifts veto

Passengers injured as Etihad flight hits severe turbulence

Israeli tanks fire shots over Gaza border

5th edition of Middle East Homeland Security Summit to be held in Amman in November

Money and revenge push Syrians to jihadist ranks

EU conditionally backs visa-free travel for Turks, overhauls asylum system

Airstrikes resume in Damascus as fighting 'freeze' ends

Relief in Yemen's Mukalla after year of al-Qaeda rule

Saudi oil minister visits Sudan to cement improving ties

Warnings for Assad as Syria talks shift to Berlin

Is Erdogan-Davutoglu tandem coming to an end?

US troops facing growing risks in Iraq, Syria

Fierce clashes rage in Syria’s Aleppo

Yemen warring parties back to peace talks table

OPCW warns ISIS may be making chemical weapons

French court says 'Carlos the Jackal' must face trial for 1974 attack

UN demands protection of hospitals in armed conflicts

Jewish settler who led burning alive of Palestinian teen receives life sentence

Italy ready to raise shipwreck off Libya coast

Heavy airstrikes kill dozens in ISIS Syria bastion

Deadly intra-rebel clashes rock eastern part of Syria capital

German 'jihadist' goes on trial for Syria war crimes

Number of people held in solitary confinement doubles in Israel

UN fears operation near Mosul will displace 30,000 more Iraqis