Egypt says arming Syria rebels could cause civil war

Published: April 3, 2012

Egypt's foreign minister says arming the Syrian opposition will increase the rate of killings in Syria. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

CAIRO: Egypt’s foreign minister warned on Monday that arming  Syria’s opposition could lead to a full civil war and argued instead to give an Arab League peace plan a chance to succeed.      

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have advocated arming rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Egypt and some other Arab states have been wary of such a move.

“Arming the Syrian opposition, as Egypt sees it, will increase the rate of killings and will transform the situation in Syria as a whole to a full civil war,” Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said, according to state news agency MENA.

“We want to give a chance for UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s mission to Syria to see what will come of it,” he said.

“I hope that there would be a non-military solution to the crisis through the Arab states’ initiative.”

Under the peace plan put forward by Annan, Syrian troops would withdraw all military units from towns, and then both the government and opposition forces would have 48 hours to cease hostilities.

Syrian told Annan it would begin withdrawing its troops from towns by April 10, Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said on Monday.

The United Nations estimates Syrian security forces have killed more than 9,000 people in the protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule and rebels have killed 3,000 troops and police.

Amr said he had called for a meeting with the Syrian opposition at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo, but MENA did not say when the meeting would take place.

Western and Arab nations meeting in Istanbul on Sunday stepped up verbal pressure on Assad but stopped short of arming rebels or fully recognising an opposition council.

Reader Comments (3)

  • Sonya
    Apr 3, 2012 - 11:16AM

    and spreading unrest into Pakistan. Qatar is aligned with US and Saudi Arabia in destablizing Syria, regime change in Libya and anti Iran operations in Pakistan’s Baluchistan. The recent example is the report of 9 February of robbery of billions of rupees from the minister of Qatar in Baluchistan. Of course if such a big robbery had not taken place no one would have been informed about the activities of minister of Qatar.

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  • Amir Piracha
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:55PM

    Arming rebels is a dangerous trend, as was supporting Talibans. Countries such as Saudi Arabia might fall victim of the same plan they are hatching for Syria.

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 3, 2012 - 11:53PM

    Have to wonder what Egypt thinks is going on now. They must get their news from Iran and PAK.

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