Middle East

Qatar, Saudi Arabia giving arms to Syria rebels: SNC

Syrian rebels prepare to advance into the Salaheddin district in the northern city of Aleppo to fight against forces loyal to the government on August 4, 2012. Syrian regime warplanes pounded rebel positions in second city Aleppo ahead of a threatened ground assault by more than 20,000 troops assembled around the commercial capital. AFP PHOTO/ACHILLEAS ZAVALLIS

PARIS: Qatar and Saudi Arabia are giving light arms to Syria's rebels but the fighters do not have the advanced weapons needed to confront Bashar al-Assad's regime, a spokeswoman for the opposition SNC said Monday.

"Rebels on the ground are searching desperately for arms wherever they can find them," a spokeswoman for the Syrian National Council, Bassma Kodmani, told France's Europe 1 radio.

"There are certain countries that are providing light and conventional weapons," she said.

Asked which countries, Kodmani said: "It is Qatar, Saudi Arabia, it is maybe a little bit Libya with what it has left over from its own battle."

She said some countries were also providing money to the rebels so they could buy weapons on the black market.

But Kodmani said the rebels were still massively outgunned by pro-regime forces and were lacking "more advanced types of weapons that could be used to confront aviation".

"This is a political decision that the major countries must take, it has not been taken," she said.

Warning of "carnage" in Syria's commercial capital Aleppo, Kodmani condemned the political and diplomatic failure to find a solution to the conflict.

"Waiting for a military solution is catastrophic," she said.

Fighting continued to rage in Syria on Monday, with a bomb blast rocking state television headquarters in the heart of Damascus and the army bombarding a string of rebel neighbourhoods in Aleppo.





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