UK to send armoured vehicles to Syrian opposition “to help save lives”..Arab states free to offer military support to Syrian rebels
The UK is to provide armoured vehicles and body armour to opposition forces in Syria “to help save lives”, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.
It will offer millions of pounds in “non-lethal” equipment, including search and rescue, communications, and disease-prevention materials.
Mr Hague said it was a “necessary, proportionate and lawful” response to “extreme human suffering”.
But some MPs said they feared being drawn into a military intervention.
Up to 70,000 people have been killed and a million refugees have fled since the crisis began two years ago.
The latest UN figures show that two million have been internally displaced, while 400,000 have fled abroad since the start of the year, with the largest number seeking shelter in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
Mr Hague told Parliament the Syrian people were in “dire need” of help and the UK could not “look the other way” in the face of the escalating humanitarian crisis and what he said were human rights violations by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
As the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war approaches, Lib Dem Sir Menzies Campbell said many MPs were concerned “lest we might drift towards” military intervention in Syria.
Although Mr Hague refused to rule out the possibility in the future, he said: “No Western government is advocating military intervention of Western nations into the conflict in Syria. The discussion is entirely focused on the degree of assistance that can and should be delivered to the opposition.”
The Arab League has issued a statement saying Arab states are free to offer military support to the Syrian rebels and has offered them a seat. The UK Foreign Secretary also announced Wednesday that the UK will increase aid to rebel forces in Syria.
An Arab league statement, issued at the end of a meeting of ministers in Cairo Wednesday, said that Arab states should be able to offer military aid to rebels fighting President Assad.
So far the League has said that the Syrian opposition should be supported only by humanitarian and diplomatic means.
Separately, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elarby told a press conference that League ministers have formally invited the Syrian Opposition Coalition to send a representative to attend a league meeting to be held in Doha in April. Normally only nations with diplomatically recognized governments are represented in the league.
A Syrian rebel leader, Brigadier Selim Idris, said Wednesday during a visit to Brussels that they recorded all arms they received, in an attempt to persuade European governments to lift their arms embargo on opposition fighters.
“The weapons are registered on lists with numbers on each weapon. We distribute those weapons. And we know precisely who has received them,” he said at a news conference.
they may as well declare war..its everything but that..if you are supplying weapons to the rebels to kill the other side with then you are taking a stand and siding with the same groups you are killing in afghanistan ..bit by bit everyone is now supplying arms to the rebels..the ones who are now holding 20 UN peacekeepers as hostage..and just who is the UK helping to save the lives of?