Syria gov’t slams U.S. rearmament of rebels as undermining Geneva II
DAMASCUS, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — The Syrian official delegation to the Geneva II conference slammed on Tuesday the U.S. decision to restart sending non-lethal help to the Syrian rebels, saying the move aims to thwart the success of the peace talks, according to the state-run SANA news agency.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the U.S. decision “aims at thwarting the conference,” stressing that the side which provides weapons to terrorist groups doesn’t care about the conference’s success.
“The U.S. decision is a very bad message because Washington has launched this conference, and it should not support the armed terrorist groups as they know that the weapons, which had been previously sent, flowed into the terrorists,” Mekdad said, according to SANA.
The remarks came a day after Western reports said that Washington has restarted sending non-lethal aid to the “moderate” rebels in Syria, after suspending its previous aid for a month.
The latest move raised the ire of the Syrian government.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that the U.S. decision reflects Washington’s backtracking on the political solution.
He wondered: “How can the U.S. position be supportive to Geneva II and aim at reaching a political solution when at the same time it supports, creates and backs up terrorism, violence and the military option?”
For her part, Syria’s Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban said that the U.S. decision is contradictory to the efforts exerted by Russia, the U.S., and the international community for launching the Geneva II conference.
She refuted the U.S. allegations on so-called “non-lethal weapons,” saying that all of the weapons that are being funneled inside Syria, end up in the hands of the radical groups.
The Geneva II conference has started last week and will end on Friday. However, no breakthrough has resulted from the conference so far as both the opposition and government delegations are holding tight to their demands.
The Syrian government wants the conference to focus on fighting terrorism while the opposition’s delegation wants the establishment of a transitional government with full executives without any role for President Bashar al-Assad.