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    » 12/13/2013, 00.00

    SYRIA

    Syria: U.S. and Britain call a halt to equipping rebels



    Washington and London stop sending non-lethal weapons to Syrian rebels for fear of supporting jihadist groups. They will continue to send humanitarian aid. First rumors about the participants in Geneva II: Iran and Saudi Arabia included . The Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC ) condemns Assad, but also the presence of foreign forces in Syria.

    Damascus ( AsiaNews) - The United States and Britain have suspended the sending of non-lethal weapons - equipment , armored vehicles, materials for communications - to Syrian rebels , but will continue to send humanitarian aid. London and Washington have decided to sever ties with the rebels because of the continued growth of jihadi groups which in a few months have supplanted the troops of the Free Syrian Army, now the only non-confessional opposition group.

    Last week, the fighters of the Islamic Front, a coalition that represents the seven major jihadist movements on Syrian territory expelled FSA formations from their Bab al-Hawa rebel stronghold on the Turkish border . Yesterday, Josh Earnest, White House spokesman confirmed that after the events of Bab al-Hawa the United States "have suspended the delivery of materials and non-lethal means of assistance for the rebels stationed in the north of Syria." London also is concerned about the extremist drift of opposition to Bashar al- Assad. Hugh Robertson, the British under - secretary of state , told the BBC that although " for the time being no equipment has fallen into the hands of Islamic militants , it is reasonable to suspend supplies as long as there are questions about what is happening " in the ranks of the rebellion.

    So far the U.S. government has sent equipment to the rebels to the tune of 181 million Euro , while Britain about 24 million Euro. The so-called non-lethal weapons consist of equipment designed to improve the efficiency of the guerrillas, including 4X4 vehicles , armor , generators, water purification kits, medicines, and gas masks .

    In view of the Peace Conference in Geneva January 22 to 24, 2014, Gulf nations, Iran , Europe and the United States have begun to define their positions aimed at finding a solution to the Syrian conflict, which over three years has cost more than 120 thousand dead and millions of displaced . According to sources close to the organizers of the event at least 32 countries will be present in Geneva . In addition to the five permanent members of the Security Council (United States, Britain , France, Russia and China) , delegates from Iran and Saudi Arabia will also participate in the Conference on opposing sides , the first supporting the regime of Bashar al Assad , the second supporting and funding opposition groups . Each delegation will be composed of nine members and also the opposition and the regime will have to submit their lists. The deadline for participation expires on 27 December, but there may be some extensions to enable as many countries as possible to participate. During a visit to Tehran, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister stressed the importance of the peace conference by stating that "all responsible countries must do something to achieve a positive result". "Those who are against it - he added - show a lack of commitment to meet the demands of the international community."

    The preparation of Geneva II and the partial rehabilitation of Iran led by Hassan Rouhani is putting a strain on the cohesion of the Gulf States . On 10 December, the Council of Cooperation of the six monarchies of the Gulf (GCC ) met in Kuwait without the representatives from Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia who are at odds over the future confederation of monarchies wanted by the Saudis, but also because of divergent positions towards the historic enemy Iran. The meeting monarchs have called for the withdrawal of all "foreign forces from Syria," in reference to the fighters of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and the Iranian military advisers who support the army, loyal to President Bashar al- Assad. The leaders also condemned the ongoing genocide against the Syrian people carried out by the regime of Bashar al - Assad.

     

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    See also

    18/12/2013 SYRIA
    Syria: Saudi and Islamist rebel threat not stopping Geneva II
    The United States, Europe and Russia continue their diplomatic efforts with the regime of Bashar al-Assad ahead of the Peace Conference on Syria set to begin on 22 January 2014. Leaders with the Islamic Front, the main jihadist group, refuse to meet with the US ambassador to Damascus. Saudi Arabia will continue to take action against Assad with or without the support of the West.

    20/01/2014 IRAN - UN -SYRIA
    The UN invites Iran to Peace Conference on Syria
    For the Secretary -General Ban Ki -moon, Iran's presence is "essential" to guide the future transition in Syria. Tehran has yet to give an official response. United States and the international community criticize decision: " Iran must accept the points of Geneva I if it wants to participate".

    26/01/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    Riyadh should “stop religious persecution of Ahmadis”
    In an open letter to the king of Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch calls for an end to the wave of arrests, detentions and deportations against the Ahmadi community, which is considered heretical by Islamic extremists.

    21/01/2014 IRAN - UN - SYRIA
    United Nations takes Iran off list for Geneva II. Tehran protests against US interference
    For the UN, the Islamic Republic has not subscribed to the points outlined by the 2012 Peace Conference. The invitation to the meeting to be held tomorrow in Geneva had been submitted by the UN Secretary General on 19 November. The Syrian National Council leaves opposition bloc and will not participate in the talks.

    21/12/2013 SYRIA - UN - IRAN
    Lakhdar Brahimi: Iranian participation in Geneva II "uncertain"
    The U.S. not convinced Tehran’s presence "would be the right thing." The United Nations and the Arab League envoy, however, adds that "Iran is not yet out of the game" , and can still contribute even if not by officially participating. The Iranian Foreign Minister calls for "a political solution" to the conflict in Syria. Islamist fringe rebels increasingly opposed to the Peace Conference



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