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News Analysis: Anti-Assad powers aim to prolong conflict by aiding rebels with weapons


10:18, June 23, 2013

DAMASCUS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The anti-President Bashar al- Assad powers have promised to back the opposition with all necessary military equipment to tilt the balance of current battles in favor of the opposition, a move seen by political experts as aiming to prolong the 27-month-old crisis and further drift Syria away from political solution.

The foreign ministers of the "Friends of Syria" met on Saturday in the Qatari capital of Doha for talks on the latest developments in Syria and agreed to further arm the Syrian opposition fighters.

In a joint statement, the meeting agreed to "provide urgently all the necessary materials and equipment" to the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian forces on ground.

Dr. Salim Harba, a military and strategic expert, told Xinhua that the "Friend of Syria" meeting mirrored the bankruptcy of its participants and their inability to change the power balance on ground after recent sweeping victories of the Syrian army on many fronts nationwide.

He said the meeting's decision to further arming the opposition aims to increase the shedding of the Syrian blood, prolong the crisis and nurture terrorism.

"All of what came out of this meeting is considered a play in the lost time because the power balance is in favor of the Syrian army and this can't be changed," he said.

He said the meeting's outcome also came to serve for political and media escalation on Syria, adding that "threatening to arm the rebels wouldn't change the original rate of armament as it has started since the beginning of the crisis."

Harba also said that the meeting's decisions came in the framework of practicing extra pressure on the Syrian state to undermine the achievements of the Syrian army and to lift the morale of the armed groups "that are dying now and to stop their dramatic unraveling" ahead of the planned conference in Geneva that would group representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to start actual negotiations to end the crisis.

Hasan Abdul-Azim, head of the Damascus-based oppositional National Coordination Body, also agreed that the armament issue aims to protract the conflict and fully destroy Syria.

Abdul-Azim, a pan-Arabism opponent who rejects the exiled Western-backed opposition groups' agendas, said that the West will never give qualitative weapons to the opposition, adding that the current weapon funneling "won't serve the Syrians."

"What is needed now is for the backers of the Syrian regime to stop supporting it with arms and for the supporters of the opposition to stop the armament of the rebels on ground. Over the past couple of years, the military solution couldn't settle the situation and there is nothing but the political situation to save the country," he said.

For his part, the head of the oppositional Free Syrian Army ( FSA) media office, Mohammad Fatteh, told the Russia Today TV that his militia welcomes the armament decision as long as it would actually materialize on ground.

He said the FSA always focuses on "bringing down the regime," adding that "in revolutions there are no peaceful solutions... We don't want to say to Assad to leave the authority peacefully."

Ammar Waqqaf, a Syrian political analyst based in Britain, slammed the pro-opposition powers and the so-called Friends of Syria group's ambivalent talk about the armament as a way for a political solution, according to the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV.

"If we ask any of the armed rebels on ground would he want to go for a political dialogue, he would say no, he would say that he wants to bring down the regime by force ... They are arming the rebels in the hope of going to a political solution but in fact they are arming those who don't even want the political solution," he said.

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