Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the Syrian cleric elected to lead the opposition coalition
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib (left), the newly elected leader of Syria's National Coalition for Opposition Forces, pictured at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on November 12. Khatib has called on world powers to arm rebels with "specialised weapons" as European Union and Arab League ministers meet in Cairo. © Khaled Desouki - AFP/File
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the Syrian cleric elected to lead the opposition coalition
AFP
Last updated: November 13, 2012

Syrian opposition leader calls for arming of rebels

The leader of Syria's new main opposition coalition called on world powers on Tuesday to arm rebels with "specialised weapons" as European Union and Arab League ministers met in Cairo.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib told AFP rebels desperately needed arms if they were to "cut short the suffering of the Syrians and their bloodshed."

"We need specialised weapons," he added, without elaborating.

Khatib also said his organisation, formed on Sunday after marathon meetings in Qatar, was representative of most opposition groups, even as European countries and the Arab League fell short of recognising it as a government in exile.

"Many groups have joined. Some have reservations, and we are in touch with everyone. The vast majority has joined. It is the strongest coalition and represents Syria internally," he said in a telephone interview in Cairo.

Earlier on Tuesday, Khatib met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at a Cairo hotel.

Fabius and EU chief Catherine Ashton have expressed support for his National Coalition but have not given it the recognition it had hoped for, a move that could facilitate more aid to the rebels.

Khatib said the Syrian people were "facing bombardment from Bashar (al-Assad's) warplanes" and needed "specialised weapons" to win, but declined to specify the nature of the arms, which he said a newly formed military council would outline.

"We want the international community to light a candle in the dark tunnel in which the tyrant Bashar has thrust his people," he said of military aid to the rebels.

A continuation of the conflict, he added, "could explode the entire region. It may create bigger and more dangerous consequences."

blog comments powered by Disqus
Stay Connected
twitter icon Twitter 13,558 linkedin icon LinkedIn 463
facebook icon Facebook 87,173 google+ icon Google+ 272