First Published: 2012-11-14

 

Furious Damascus: Doha meeting amounts to declaration of war

 

Syria's regime slams France for recognising opposition bloc formed at meeting in Qatar, saying French decision is ‘immoral’.

 

Middle East Online

‘They reject any dialogue’

DAMASCUS - Syria's regime slammed France Wednesday for recognising an opposition bloc formed at a meeting in Qatar that it said amounted to a "declaration of war".

A day after France became the first Western nation to recognise the newly united opposition, Damascus hit out at the decision and said the Qatar meeting at which the dissident factions united amounted to a war declaration.

"The Doha meeting was a declaration of war. These people (the opposition) don't want to solve the issue peacefully through the mechanisms of the UN," country's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad said.

"We read the Doha document and they reject any dialogue with the government."

Reacting to France's decision to recognise the National Coalition, he said: "Allow me to use the word, this is an immoral position. They are supporting killers, terrorists and they are encouraging the destruction of Syria."

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, a strong ally of Damascus, also criticised countries siding with the opposition and insisted Moscow was staying neutral.

"We don't support anybody in this conflict, neither President Assad nor the rebels... but unfortunately, the point of view of some states is more one-sided," Medvedev told Finnish broadsheet Helsingin Sanomat.

President Francois Hollande said Paris recognised the coalition as "the sole representative of the Syrian people and thus as the future provisional government of a democratic Syria, allowing an end to the Bashar al-Assad regime".

The question of arming the rebels would now "have to be necessarily reviewed not only in France but in all countries which will recognise this government," Hollande added.

National Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib has called on world powers to arm Assad's foes, saying they desperately needed "specialised weapons" in order to "cut short the suffering of the Syrians and their bloodshed".

The United States said the coalition was "a legitimate representative" of the Syrian people, but stopped short of recognising it as the sole representative.

Britain said it wants to see more evidence the grouping has strong support inside Syria before formally recognising it.

The French move came 24 hours after the coalition was recognised by the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Arab League stopped short of granting the bloc full recognition, only saying it saw the alliance as "the legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition".

The opposition agreed on Sunday to unify their fighting forces under a military council and to set up a judicial commission for rebel-held areas. They plan to form a provisional government.

On the ground, tanks moved on the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp and the neighbouring Damascus district of Tadamum after battles in the area late Tuesday, said the Observatory.

Shells struck a second refugee camp east of Yarmuk on Wednesday morning while fighter jets bombarded the Idlib province town of Maaret al-Numan, which rebels seized on October 9 and the army has since sought to take back.

Violence also raged in the Kurdish province of Hasakeh, on the restive northeastern border.

Warplanes bombarded the rebel-held frontier town of Ras al-Ain, a photographer said, adding rebel fighters right next to Turkey fired shots in return.

The Britain-based Observatory -- which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and medics -- said nationwide violence killed 189 people on Tuesday, including 90 civilians.

The watchdog has given an overall death toll of more than 37,000 since the revolt broke out in March 2011.

 

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

Hezbollah backs Syria in major assault on border city

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament

‘War’ in Sinai Peninsula as clashes with ISIS fighters rage on

All 38 victims of Tunisia beach massacre identified

36 killed in wave of IS attack on Egyptian soldiers

Iran vs. Israel gets cartoon treatment

IAEA chief to fly to Iran for nuclear talks

Saudi prince pledges fortune to charity

Syria Kurds regain full control of Tal Abyad

Palestinian PM to make 'temporary' cabinet reshuffle

20 civilians killed in rebel fire on Yemen's Aden