Syrian rebels clash with pro-regime forces in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo on March 23, 2013
Syrian rebels clash with pro-regime forces in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo on March 23, 2013. Syria has accused Saudi leaders of being behind the country's more than two-year armed uprising. © Bulent Kilic - AFP/File
Syrian rebels clash with pro-regime forces in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo on March 23, 2013
AFP
Last updated: June 26, 2013

Syria accuses Saudi of being behind uprising

Syria has lashed out at Saudi leaders, accusing them of being behind the country's more than two-year armed uprising, according to statements published on Wednesday.

"The violence in Syria is being caused by Saudi arms, Saudi money and terrorists linked to Saudi Arabia," said Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi.

Zohbi also said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had "Syrian blood on his hands".

On Tuesday, the prince said during a joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry that his country would help the rebels defend themselves.

He urged the international community to act to bring an end to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, telling Kerry the civil war had turned into "genocide".

Speaking in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, Faisal also slammed the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and Iran for starting a "foreign invasion" of Syria.

Hezbollah, which supports Assad and is backed by Iran, has entered into Syria's fighting in full force, helping the regime secure advances in the central province of Homs and near Damascus.

Reacting to Faisal's comments, Zohbi said: "Saudi diplomacy is faltering... and it has no place in a political solution for Syria".

He also said Faisal's calls for action were just "dreams".

Meanwhile Syria's ruling party mouthpiece Al-Baath newspaper described Faisal as "crazy".

"Faisal's statements... prove not only that he has become senile and out of touch with reality, but that the Wahhabi regime is falling apart," said Al-Baath.

Saudi Arabia practises a puritanical form of Wahhabi Islam and has some of the world's most sweeping restrictions on freedom of religion.

A report titled "Convoy of martyrs in the Levant" by US think-tank Flashpoint Partners detailed the deaths of 280 foreign fighters who had joined Syria's rebels.

The Saudi contingent is the biggest after the Libyan, according to the report.

Though Damascus and Riyadh once enjoyed good relations, ties collapsed after the anti-Assad revolt erupted in March 2011.

Most of Syria's rebels, like the Wahhabi regime, are Sunni. Assad belongs to the Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

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