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.

 

UN envoy in Moscow to save Syrian truce

UN envoy seeks to restart Yemen peace talks

Iraq reform process in limbo after Green Zone storming

Iran to grant citizenship to families of killed foreign recruits

Five years on, bin Laden doctor languishes in jail

EU praises Turkey efforts to meet criteria for visa deal

Sudan claims 'sovereign rights' in dispute with Egypt

Amnesty denounces ‘shocking’ conditions in Iraq detention centre

Carnage in Iraq as deadly car bomb targets Shiite pilgrims

PKK attack kills at least one soldier in southeast Turkey

Turkey pounds ISIS positions in Syria

Top Sudan court lifts ban on leading newspaper

Egypt journalists hold sit-in after police raid of press syndicate

US in desperate bid to salvage Syria ceasefire

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue