[QODLink]
Inside Syria

With friends like these ...

Why has there been no real action or decisions coming from the sixth international meet of the Friends of Syria?

Last Modified: 23 Jun 2013 14:05
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Syria a hot topic of conversation in Qatar right now, now that foreign ministers from 11 countries met in Doha for a Friends of Syria meeting on Saturday. It is the first meeting since the United States said it would arm the rebels.

In a statement following talks in Qatar on Saturday, ministers from 11 nations in the Friends of Syria group agreed "to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground". 

Their final statement also condemned "the intervention of Hezbollah militias and fighters from Iran and Iraq", demanding that they withdraw immediately from Syria.

President Barack Obama has promised military aid for Syrian rebels after accusing President Bashar al-Assad's forces of using chemical weapons. But last month UN human rights investigators said there was evidence the rebels themselves had also crossed the red line.

Why does the international community like to forget those 90 percent of fighters in Syria and they talk all the time about Jabhat al-Nusra? I think it's a kind of propaganda and a way to justify why they are not going to help the Syrian people.

We need your help.

General Salim Idriss, Free Syrian Army's chief of staff

The head of an independent commission of inquiry Carla de Ponte said: "Investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas."

Britain, France, the US and Saudi Arabia were among the nations attending the talks; delegates were discussing aid for Syrian rebels and progress on a political solution to the conflict.

This is the sixth Friends of Syria meeting since the group was set up last year to back the rebels after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government.

The rebels in Syria say they have already received a shipment of weapons that could change the course of the civil war. 

The Free Syrian Army did not specify where the weapons were coming from. But it has drawn criticism from Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"One does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras," Putin said.

"Are these the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to the humanitarian values preached in Europe for hundreds of years."

One of the groups fighting president Assad which the US is most concerned about is the al-Nusra Front. The leader has formally pledged his allegiance to the al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri.

Al-Nusra was established in January last year and since then it has used car bombs and suicide attacks in its efforts to bring down the Assad government. It has around 5,000 members, and is believed to be largely funded and trained by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

In December, the US state department put al-Nusra on its list of terrorist organisations. It said it was responsible for hundreds of attacks, and the deaths of countless civilians.

To discuss all this further on Inside Syria, Shiulie Ghosh is joined by our guest General Salim Idriss, the chief of staff of the rebel umbrella group, the Free Syrian Army.

585

Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.
join our mailing list