Report: Saudi Arabia Arms Syrian Rebels

March 17, 2012  

Saudi Arabia has begun sending weapons to Syrian rebels, an Arab diplomat told AFP. Saudi leaders have previously called for rebels to be armed.

“Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the Free Syrian Army,” he said. “This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria.”

Last week Saudi Arabia shut down its embassy in Syria over reports that President Bashar Assad’s troops were massacring civilians in Homs and Idlib.

At the same time, Iraqi officials have informed Iran that they will not allow arms shipments to Syria to pass through their country, whether by ground or by air. Iran has remained a staunch ally of Assad’s regime, and is reportedly actively aiding Damascus in repressing political opposition.

On Friday, just after the violence in Syria entered its second year, United Nations peace envoy Kofi Annan warned that the conflict may escalate. He called on the UN Security Council to pressure Assad to reach a ceasefire agreement.

Russia and China have used their veto powers on the Security Council to block resolutions on Syria that they termed unbalanced. Russian officials have declared that any ceasefire deal must apply equally to rebel forces and to Assad’s troops.

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